KPA, NMA, NNA fight newsprint tariff placement

January 31, 2018

The Kansas Press Association has been working with the National Newspaper Association and the News Media Alliance — the newspaper industry’s representatives — on how to react to the announcement that tariffs are being placed on all newsprint from Canada because of a dispute over one competition with one U.S. mill.

Although the tariffs went into effect Tuesday, KPA, NNA and NMA will continue fighting to have them lifted and, ultimately, reversed.

In the meantime, however, there certainly could be some effects on those who print newspapers and those of you who send your newspapers to a central plant for printing.

Here is a recent article from the Columbia Journalism Review on the subject.


Here is NMA’s statement on the tariffs:

We are stunned that a single U.S. mill in Longview, WA (NORPAC) has been able to manipulate the trade laws to their gain, while potentially wreaking financial havoc on newspapers and other commercial publishers across the country. On January 9, in response to NORPAC’s petition, the Department of Commerce issued a “preliminary” decision to impose countervailing duties on Canadian imports of uncoated groundwood paper. This decision and its associated duties likely will lead to job losses in U.S. publishing, commercial printing and paper industries.

NORPAC petitions do not reflect the views of the domestic paper industry and demonstrate a lack of understanding of the market. The well-documented decline in the U.S. newsprint market is not due to unfair trade, but to a decade-long shift from print to digital distribution of news and information. Now, we will all literally pay for one manufacturer’s manipulation of our country’s trade laws. These tariffs will saddle publishers with additional costs that will hasten the newspaper industry’s shift to digital and, consequentially, accelerate the decline in both the printed newspaper and newsprint industries. There will be no winners.

We oppose the NORPAC petitions and these tariffs, and we will take every possible measure to fight this misguided case as it moves through the investigation process at the Department of Commerce and International Trade Commission.

David Chavern, NMA executive director


Here’s what NNA says about the tariffs:

The National Newspaper Association today is urging members to fight back against threatening countervailing duties that could dramatically increase newsprint prices. The first round of U.S. duties was announced Monday and will begin affecting Canadian paper producers on Jan 16. The new duties will range from 4.42 percent to 9.93 percent.

NNA President Susan Rowell is urging publishers to attend NNA’s Community Newspaper Leadership Summit March 14-15 to aggressively urge Congressional action to oppose a misguided tariff that jeopardizes community newspapers.

“We join our colleagues at the News Media Alliance in fighting back against this ill-advised trade action. Instead of protecting American jobs, as the Department of Commerce is mandated to do, it puts in jeopardy the jobs of thousands of people in our industry, the printing industry and related trades and professions. We must make sure Congress understands the gravity of this threat,” Rowell said.

The preliminary duties are just the latest volley in a battle that began last summer when a small newsprint mill in Washington State filed a complaint with the Commerce Department. Another set of possible duties to further raise paper prices looms later this year, with a continuing investigation to ensue through summer.

Registration for the event is available here. NNA will supply background papers and issue briefings.

Tonda F. Rush, NNA | Director of Public Policy