USA House of Representatives joins Senate to block Trump tariffs on Canadian newsprint

Kristi Noem.
Representative Kristi Noem.

In May we reported how the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) announced tariffs in January on Canadian newsprint (i.e. uncoated groundwood paper or UGW) and how a bill called STOPP (Stop Tariffs on Printing and Publishing) was introduced by Senators Susan Collins and Angus King of Maine. STOPP would require a pause in the imposition of new duties on Canadian UGW paper imports until the DOC completes a study on the economic health of its printing and publishing industries. Now, the U.S. House of Representatives is getting involved. This week, Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Charlie Crist (D-FL) introduced their own legislation called the PRINT (Protecting Rational Incentives in Newsprint Trade) Act of 2018, which was supported by nine other House lawmakers. This study would further explore the damage the tariffs cause to local news coverage, including reduced employment or harm to local businesses that advertise in their respective papers. According to the U.S. News Media Alliance, the tariffs are as high as 32% in some cases, and threaten the jobs of over 600,000 workers across the United States.

Charlie Crist.
Representative Charlie Crist.

Noem added: “When the use of trade remedies threatens the jobs of hundreds of thousands of American workers, it bears asking if the cure is worse than the disease. Each additional day these import taxes remain in place poses a threat to daily newspapers, printers, and the many small businesses that supply equipment and services to the publishing industry. We need to stem this damage immediately and gain a complete understanding of whether Canadian imports of newsprint are unfairly subsidized or pose a serious threat to U.S. paper producers.” Following the completion of the report, Trump would receive the findings from the Commerce Secretary within 90 days. He must then decide if such an act stopping the tariffs is in the best interests of the country. The U.S. Commerce Department is expected to deliver a final decision by Thursday, August 2.

(Editor’s note: As we all know, comrade Trump and his administration have declared war on journalism and the media. Then again, when you’re dealing with a U.S. president who characterizes media outlets that don’t agree with him as fake news, why should he care if printed newspapers go belly-up? Perhaps it’s his idea of making America great again. That being said, we should applaud these U.S. lawmakers for their bi-partisan efforts. We’ll keep you up to date right here).

 

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.