Wisconsin publisher explains impact of newsprint tariffs

Patrick Wood

Multimedia Channels CEO Patrick Wood sent the following letter to the company’s subscribers, detailing how newsprint tariffs are hurting newspapers across the country.

In the letter, Wood explains how a Washington state paper mill owned by a New York hedge fund has driven up the price of paper imports. Those higher prices, in turn, have resulted in fewer jobs, less editorial coverage and more expensive advertising. Wood implores readers to contact their lawmakers to ask for their support on the PRINT Act (Senate Bill 2835, House Bill 6031).

How a Greedy Hedge Fund Is Killing American Business and American Jobs

Dear Readers,

Sometimes things are not black and white. But sometimes they are. Right now we are living through a story that’s about as clear-cut as they come, a story of rich hedge fund managers destroying American jobs so they selfishly get a better bottom line for themselves. Here’s what’s going on…

North Pacific Paper Mill (NORPAC), a paper mill based in Longview, Washington is owned by One Rock Capital Partners, a hedge fund located in New York City. Shortly after buying the mill in 2016, NORPAC petitioned the US Government to levy tariffs on Canadian paper mills. The Government said yes, resulting in a dramatic increase in the price of paper. This has put more money in the pockets of the Government, which is collecting the tariff—and One Rock Capital Partners, which is selling paper at a much higher price than before.

NORPAC employs approximately 300 workers. Those American jobs were never threatened, though NORPAC would like you to think they were. But many of the 600,000 jobs (yes, six hundred thousand) in the printing and newspaper publishing industry are very much in jeopardy. NORPAC’s tariffs have raised the price of paper to the moon, and newspapers, which still use paper to carry reporting and advertising to readers, are feeling the pain. Increases in the cost of printing are leading some newspapers to lower page counts, reduce their use of color, and cut their staff. They also have had to raise prices, for subscriptions and for advertising. This passes the cost of the tariff onto yet another set of victims: You, the reader, and you, the advertiser.

In a way, the paper tariff is fighting a war that was lost a long time ago. Twenty years ago there were 15 American paper mills in operation. Today there are only five, three of which are owned by Canadian companies through their registered US subsidiaries. Those other ten mills aren’t coming back, because the cost to open a new mill is over $200 million.

So here we are: An aggressive hedge fund owns a paper mill. It has turned to the Government to help it raise prices. The Government has jumped in by taxing paper imports with a massive tariff. And now we all are suffering with fewer jobs, less editorial coverage, and more expensive advertising.

You can help save American jobs. Call your Senator or Representative and ask them to support the PRINT Act (Senate Bill 2835, House Bill 6031), which would suspend collection of the tariffs.

  • Senator Ron Johnson, a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 2835, is at 202-224-5323.
  • Senator Tammy Baldwin can be reached at 202-224-5653.
  • Your House Representative is at 202-224-3121.

We are doing our best to reduce our expenses where we can; we hope you will understand and continue to support us even as we trim our costs.

We appreciate your support.

 

Patrick J Wood
Publisher