Opinion: Newsprint Tariff Will Hurt Newspapers

Local newspapers are the backbone of their communities and the tie that bonds the citizens of these communities together.
Local newspapers provide information for their readers that they simply cannot get from larger media outlets who do not care about this kind of news, television which has very limited coverage for each area, or social media where your reach is only as good as the number of friends you have or the number of people who follow you.
Communities without local newspapers miss out on the play-by-play reports of the local high school football game, the honor roll lists for the local schools, detailed reporting on local government, elections, weddings and social events, news of the local churches, and much more. All of these things are lost when there is not a community newspaper to share this news. Local newspapers are important because this kind of news is important to the community. Newspapers connect the community and make it stronger.
Local newspapers are being threatened along with larger newspapers and thousands of jobs in the newspaper, printing, and publishing industries by the assessed tariffs on newsprint imported from Canada.
Here are the facts from the National Newspaper Association:
“These facts are important because the paper your newspaper is printed on is under attack.
One small paper mill in Washington State is trying to use the federal trade and tariff laws to make this paper–newsprint, or uncoated groundwood paper, in paper parlance–about 50 percent more expensive. This mill has complained to the U.S. Department of Commerce and International Trade Commission about international competition. If it succeeds, the prices of newspaper printing will skyrocket. The resources available for everything else your local newspaper may need or want to do for you will be strangled. Canadian paper producers have supplied the U.S. for many years. They have some natural advantages over U.S. papermakers because of hydroelectric power and shipping costs. More than a dozen U.S. mills have stopped making newsprint in the last decade because demand for paper has declined.
Today, even if Canadian paper disappeared because of high tariffs being proposed to the federal government, the U.S. paper mills could not supply newspapers with the paper they need. Mills cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build and can take many years to be safely situated in compliance with environmental rules. With demand falling, no one is going to invest in a massive expansion of U.S. newsprint. Over the short term, tariffs could force the price of paper up and the New York investors who own the Washington State mill could gain. But our country will lose.”
It’s no secret that over the past several years, newspaper revenues have been declining, and newspapers throughout the United States and South Carolina are already feeling the effects of the tariff on Canadian newsprint as they drive up the cost of business. Some of the duties on Canadian imports of uncoated groundwood paper have climbed as high as 32 percent. This is going to cause many smaller newspapers to make extremely difficult choices such as printing fewer pages, fewer publication days, laying off employees, and in some cases, ceasing to print altogether. Readers simply can’t absorb more costly subscriptions and advertising revenue cannot support the increases.
The good news is that the tariff is not yet permanent. The International Trade Commission can stop this newsprint tariff, and they will hold an evidentiary hearing on July 17th with a final decision on possible permanent tariffs due by September 17th.
If you agree that newspapers are important, if you want to protect American jobs, and if you agree that this damaging tariff should be reversed, please write your representatives and please sign the online petition at https://www.stopnewsprinttariffs.org/join-the-fight-to-protect-u-s-jobs/

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