Aug 29, 2018 - Economy

Media rejoices after newsprint tariffs reversed

Photo: Natalie Behring/Getty Images

The International Trade Commission (ITC) announced Wednesday that it reversed newsprint tariffs after concluding that Canadian imports of uncoated groundwood paper do not cause material harm to the U.S. paper industry.

Why it matters: Newspapers were aching under the tariffs, and in many cases were forced to lay off dozens of people due to the burden the tariffs put on their businesses.

"Today is a great day for American journalism. The ITC’s decision will help to preserve the vitality of local newspapers and prevent additional job losses in the printing and publishing sectors ... The end of these unwarranted tariffs means local newspapers can focus once again on playing a vital role in our democracy by keeping citizens informed and connected to the daily life of their communities."
— David Chavern, president and CEO of the News Media Alliance

The ITC put out a short statement, saying that it had ultimately made "negative determinations" in its final phase of anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations concerning uncoated groundwood paper from Canada.

  • The backstory: The Commerce Department imposed anti-dumping tariffs on newsprint and other Canadian paper goods after a paper mill located in Longview, Washington filed a complaint about them.
  • The other side: The newspaper industry argued the tariffs weren't fit to solve the problem at hand, instead just benefitting that single print mill in Washington.

The lobbying effort by the newspaper industry to reverse the tariffs was fierce.

  • The newspaper industry set up an aggressive lobbying coalition called STOPP (Stop Tariffs on Printers & Publishers) to take the lead on the effort.
  • Newspaper editorial boards across the country called on the Trump administration to end the tariffs.
  • Dozens of lawmakers expressed opposition to the tariffs and wrote letters to key administration officials, delivered testimony before the ITC, or co-sponsorsed legislation in the House and Senate.

The result: The tariff threat caused many American newspapers, which are already struggling to survive a transition to digital news consumption, major headaches. Now, newspapers are celebrating the reversal.

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