PIA’s Makin blasts Trump’s proposed tariffs on Uncoated Groundwood Paper from Canada – in addition to U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs

Michael Makin.
PIA President and CEO Michael Makin.

In response to a recent announcement by the U.S. Department of Commerce regarding preliminary anti-dumping duties on Canadian imports of Uncoated Groundwood (UGW) Paper, Printing Industries of America (PIA) President and CEO Michael Makin, in no uncertain terms, criticized the move and said it would put thousands of American jobs in the printing industry at risk, make life much more difficult for its member companies, and raise the cost of printed products for the consumer. In a brief video (see below) he also explained how Trump tariffs on steel and aluminum would negatively impact the manufacturing of printing equipment and plates respectively.

“The Department of Commerce has announced preliminary anti-dumping duties of up to 22.16% on Canadian imports of Uncoated Groundwood Paper,” Makin revealed. “This is compounded by preliminary countervailing duties averaging 6.5% on the same product announced in January. These tariffs will negatively impact paper used for newsprint, directories, book publishing and advertising circulars, raising costs for production and, ultimately, print customers. In an industry in which it’s difficult to absorb forced cost increases, the effect will likely be less production, fewer pages printed, a faster shift to digital content of news and books, and more diversion of advertising from print to electronic platforms.

All of this havoc has been caused by one company in the paper industry filing a trade remedy case alleging unfair trade practices by Canada. The majority of U.S. newsprint manufacturers, the trade associations representing the industry, and U.S. customers, oppose the trade petition on UGW paper. Demand for newsprint has declined by 75% in North America since 2000, due to electronic diversion and change of customer reading habits – not because of unfair competition. The PIA believes firmly in the power of print to deliver news and information, and its member companies work daily to innovate and maintain print’s relevance in today’s world of multi-channel communication delivery. Tariffs on Canadian UGW paper will unnecessarily burden printing companies and their customers with cost headaches, while forcing alternatives to print. The PIA and its allies in the Stop Tariffs on Printers and Publishers (STOPP) Coalition have gone directly to the Department of Commerce and Capitol Hill to make the case opposing tariffs on UGW paper imported from Canada and will continue to urge the Trump Administration to reject this trade case in light of the harmful impact such tariffs will have on a key segment of the American manufacturing economy.”

Makin also commented on the recently announced Trump policy on imported steel and aluminum. “Promoting job growth in domestic manufacturing is at the core of PIA’s mission, and we appreciate President Trump highlighting the importance of the manufacturing sector and its workers. However, there are 800,000 jobs associated with the U.S. printing industry – and the PIA’s first and foremost goal is to ensure that the companies that provide those jobs are able to purchase equipment (including printing plates made of aluminum) without higher production costs associated with potential tariffs. The PIA is closely monitoring the details of the recently announced steel and aluminum tariff to determine the potential negative impact on printing facilities, possible exemptions for key components of printing equipment, and other aspects of the tariff case as the specifics of the policy unfold.”

A short video from Makin outlining his concerns (and something every commercial printer in Canada should view) is available at: https://vimeo.com/260130071.

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.