PIA and US lawmakers aim to stop Trump’s tariffs on Canadian paper

It’s the DOC versus state lawmakers and the US printing industry

I don’t know what’s more exhausting – keeping up with comrade Trump’s lies (now over 3,000 reported) or his proposed tariffs. Yes folks, like that hypochondriac in-law who’s been dying of the same illness for 40 years, the ad-nauseam tariff threats from the White House have become almost routine. But here’s the good news: tariffs on Canadian paper are now causing major infighting in the US. Moreover, Printing Industries of America (PIA) is endorsing the recent PRINT Act, introduced by US senators Susan Collins and Angus King from Maine. The act would require a pause in the imposition of new duties on Canadian uncoated groundwood (UGW) paper imports until the US Department of Commerce (DOC) completes a study on the economic health of its printing and publishing industries.

PIA President and CEO Michael Makin also encouraged his members in an open e-letter May 15 to contact their state senators immediately to urge support of this legislation, while adding: “Let us know how your company, employees and customers are being impacted due to tariffs on uncoated groundwood paper. Taxing our most essential raw material drags down the industry’s job creation, economic growth and future viability.” These tariffs are already having—and will continue to have—a huge impact on Canadian paper mills. The saddest part is that the original complaint came from just one US paper company.

I’ve followed American politics for over 30 years and Collins and King (a Republican and an Independent) are among the most reasonable lawmakers in the Senate. The primary reason they want a pause is that these duties could result in the loss of hundreds and perhaps thousands of jobs in the state of Maine alone – not to mention crippling hundreds of smaller community newspapers across the US who simply can’t afford the higher prices of USA-sourced paper products, particularly newsprint. Then again, when you’re dealing with a US president who characterizes media outlets that don’t agree with him as fake news, why should he care if some printed newspapers go belly-up? Perhaps it’s his idea of making America great again.

Until next time, always remember that we’re here to help.


Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.