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January 8, 2018

Collins, King among group urging caution on Canadian paper tariffs

Collins photo Courtesy / MEDILL DC, FLICKR; King photo Courtesy / U.S. Naval War College, FLICKR
Collins photo Courtesy / MEDILL DC, FLICKR; King photo Courtesy / U.S. Naval War College, FLICKR
U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Angus King, I-Maine, have asked the U.S. Department of Commerce to consider the nation's newspapers and the communities that depend on them when investigating a pending trade claim involving tariffs on imported newsprint and other commercial printing papers.

U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Angus King, I-Maine, are among eight U.S. senators who signed a letter Friday urging the U.S. Department of Commerce to consider the nation's newspapers and the communities that depend on them when investigating a pending trade claim involving tariffs on imported newsprint and other commercial printing papers.

The International Trade Administration, part of the U.S. Commerce Department, is reviewing a petition by Washington-based North Pacific Paper Co. that alleges Canadian producers of uncoated groundwood paper and printing industry are receiving unfair trade subsidies. If the petition is successful, it could increase the cost of groundwood paper by 30%, according to the letter from the eight senators to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

Uncoated groundwood paper is used to make newsprint and book pages.

The senators wrote that in addition to the harm that tariffs would cause the U.S. newspaper industry, trade sanctions could also pose a threat to nearly 600,000 American jobs in groundwood paper manufacturing and commercial printing, especially in rural areas.

"People in small towns all over America still depend on their local newspapers," the letter said. "These petitions threaten to put those newspapers out of business and cut off rural and small-town America from their local news as well as from marketing opportunities that are vital to economic growth in these communities.".

The letter said that the majority of U.S. newsprint manufacturers, and even the national trade association for the U.S. forest and paper industry, the American Forest and Paper Association, as well as their major U.S. customers, oppose the petition.

Besides Collins and King, the letter is also signed by U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., Shelly Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Deb Fischer, R-Nev., Roger Wicker, R-Miss. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

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