WNA joins coalition to fight proposed newsprint tariffs

The WNA has joined a coalition of associations and companies fighting potential newsprint tariffs that threaten more than 600,000 jobs across the country.

The STOPP Coalition joined together to fight the proposed government tariffs initiated by the North Pacific Paper Co. (NORPAC), a small Washington State mill with no other pulp or paper operations in the United States. NORPAC claims it is a victim of “dumping” or under-pricing by Canadian paper producers, which allegedly benefit from unfair government support.

In reality, the decline in the U.S. newsprint market is due to a shift over the last decade from print to digital distribution of news. Since 2007, 78 machines have been closed or converted, eliminating more than 10 million metric tons of capacity.

Preliminary tariffs against Canadian producers began in January and increased in March, prompting an increase in the price of newsprint by 31 percent over the last six months. Some have already felt the strain — last month, the Tampa Bay Times’ CEO announced that a $3 million hike in expenses created by the tariffs was responsible for approximately 50 layoffs across the company.

If the tariffs become permanent, newspapers will be forced to reduce distribution, cut content and eliminate jobs. Stories will go uncovered, government oversight will diminish and democracy will suffer.

The business community will suffer, too. Commercial printing and book publishing operations, advertisers, and industries in the supply chain — like ink suppliers, fuel producers and equipment manufacturers — would face significant hardships.

In a push to reject the tariffs, WNA members and industry supporters are urged to join the coalition and contact their congressional representatives.

The International Trade Commission has launched its final investigation into NORPAC’s claims and will hold a hearing July 17. It is expected to make a final determination in August or September.