Senators Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Halt Tariffs on Canadian Newsprint Paper

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the U.S. Senate, led by Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Angus King (I-Maine), have introduced a bill that would delay dumping tariffs and countervailing duties currently being applied to imports of Canadian uncoated groundwood (UGW), or newsprint, being used primarily by newspaper, book, directory and circular printers, as well as other publishers and printers. The PRINT (Protecting Rational Incentives in Newsprint Trade) Act would suspend the import taxes of up to 32% on Canadian uncoated groundwood paper and would require the U.S. Department of Commerce to complete a study within 90 days on the economic health of the newsprint and U.S. newspaper industry in general.

The bill would also postpone any action by the Commerce Department and the International Trade Commission on newsprint import duties until President Donald Trump receives the report and certifies that the taxes are in the economic interests of the United States.

Most importantly, the PRINT Act would halt the current collection of cash deposits for Canadian UGW imports. The tariffs have led to the highest prices for newsprint in the past five years – for an industry that is already under extreme duress from changing news consumption, newspaper readership and subscription habits among Americans.

The bipartisan PRINT Act is co-sponsored by Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.) U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles “Chuck” Schumer (D-N.Y) also expressed his opposition to the tariffs earlier and asked the Commerce Department to reconsider the decision.

Printing Industries of America has also been a vocal industry voice. “PIA has spent the better part of 2018 informing the Department of Commerce of the unique circumstances in the trade remedy case targeting Canadian imports of uncoated groundwood (paper, providing a realistic viewpoint of paper consumption, and explaining the devastating impact taxing this product is having – now – on the print and publishing industries,” said PIA president and CEO Michael Makin.

“Trade remedy laws are designed to help domestic industries attain a level playing field on which to succeed – not to create an exponential number of domestic losers in the process. The PRINT Act is crucial to restoring a much-needed sense of sanity surrounding tariffs on uncoated groundwood paper. PIA endorses this legislation and will continue to work to highlight the need for rational decision making in relation to this ill-conceived tariff.”
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