Commerce Department revises newsprint tariffs

The U.S. Department of Commerce today reduced tariffs imposed earlier this year on Canadian newsprint producers, offering a partial reprieve to publishers who have struggled to absorb increased newsprint costs.

In January, the Commerce Department set temporary tariffs of up to 32 percent on uncoated groundwood paper from Canada in response to a single paper mill located in Longview, Wash. Today’s announcement reduces the tariffs to just over 20 percent for one large Canadian producer, Catalyst Paper Corp, just under 10 percent for two other big producers, and as little as around 1 percent for others.

» See the Commerce Department’s fact sheet on today’s decision.

“These import duties on newsprint have already caused job losses in the printing and publishing sectors and have resulted in decreased news coverage in local communities,” News Media Alliance CEO David Chavern said in a statement from the STOPP Coalition. “Although this is a step in the right direction, the reduced rates only lessen the pace at which the tariffs are harming the industry. We hope that the International Trade Commission will entirely reverse these misguided tariffs at the end of the month.”

Fortunately, the Commerce Department decision is not final. The International Trade Commission can reverse the tariffs in its final determination at the conclusion of its investigation. The ITC is expected to vote on August 29 and issue a ruling on Sept. 17.