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ITC ruling on newsprint tariffs hailed as victory for newspapers

BY Staff

8/30/2018

Maine’s newspaper publishers scored a victory Wednesday, with the International Trade Commission nullifying tariffs imposed on imported newsprint by the U.S. Department of Commerce in January.
The unanimous ruling ends import taxes on newsprint, which is the second-biggest expense after wages for the newspaper industry in Maine and the United States. The ITC, in its ruling, determined that the tariff imposed on Canadian newsprint was done on behalf of a single domestic paper mill — adding its finding that American newsprint producers weren’t harmed by imports from Canadian paper mills.
In Maine, 100% of the newsprint used by newspapers comes from Canada. The tariffs implemented earlier this year increased newsprint costs in Maine by 22.5%, according to U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Angus King, I-Maine, who hailed the ruling in a joint news release with U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine District 2, on Wednesday.
Here’s what each had to say:
Sen. Collins: “I am delighted that the ITC listened to the concerns of members of Congress and affected industries that the import taxes it had levied on newsprint manufacturers were severely harming publishers and printers, which employ hundreds of thousands of Americans. The tariffs also threatened to negatively impact the U.S. paper industry by permanently shrinking its customer base. The strong, bipartisan support for reversing the ITC’s preliminary determination was reflected by the fact that the PRINT Act I introduced in May to suspend these tariffs was cosponsored by one-third of the Senate. Today’s unanimous decision will help save jobs and ensure local newspapers remain strong, vibrant voices in their communities.”
Sen. King: “Today’s ruling is a victory for not only newspaper publishers, but also for Maine citizens and communities across our state and country. Newspapers provide vital information to their readers and are critical participants in our democracy — particularly for those who live in rural areas where the internet either doesn’t reach or is inaccessible to residents and for our older citizens, but also for those who just prefer to read the paper, on paper. The idea that the interests of a single mill in Washington state would outweigh the economic needs of an entire industry and the general interest of the American public simply does not make sense. Today’s thoughtful ITC decision recognized that this application of the law would have a lasting negative impact on our nation, and I am relieved that local newspapers will not face this added obstacles in their continued effort to inform the American people.”
Rep. Poliquin: “Today’s ruling by the ITC is a huge win for Maine workers and Maine jobs, This ruling corrects a misguided policy that had enabled a single producer in Washington state to take advantage of manufacturers across the country, including our mills in Maine. I’m pleased the ITC has helped to level the playing field for Maine workers.”
 
 

Wednesday’s ITC ruling comes after months of bipartisan efforts in Congress to reverse the newsprint tariffs.
Last month, Collins, King and Poliquin testified before the ITC and urged the commissioners to consider the serious harm that these tariffs will have on a variety of industries across the nation.
In May, Collins led a bipartisan group of senators, including Sen. King, in introducing the Protecting Rational Incentives in Newsprint Trade Act (PRINT Act).
The PRINT Act, which has been cosponsored by 33 senators, would suspend the import taxes on newsprint while the Department of Commerce examines the health of the printing and publishing industry. It has been endorsed by printers and publishers representing more than 600,000 American jobs.
Companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and cosponsored by Rep. Poliquin.