International Trade Commission reverses newsprint tariffs

Last week, the International Trade Commission (ITC) unanimously voted to terminate the countervailing and anti-dumping duties that have been charged on imported Canadian newsprint since January of this year.

While the Commission’s welcome decision was released last week, stakeholders must wait several more weeks to learn the commission’s reasoning for the reversal when the ITC issues a final report on Sept. 17. The cash deposits will be refunded to newsprint manufacturers, but that will take several months. It is not yet clear whether the manufacturers will pass the refunds on to their newspaper customers.

The unanimous decision by the five-member ITC comes too late for one California newspaper, the Gridley Herald, which closed its doors last week after 137 years, in part because of the increase in newsprint prices caused by the tariffs.

The tariffs at one point reached a high of 32% charged to some newsprint producers. Immediately prior to the ITC’s decision, the Department of Commerce reduced the ceiling to 20%.

“Today is a great day for American journalism,” said David Chavern, CEO of NMA. “The ITC’s decision will help to preserve the vitality of local newspapers and prevent additional job losses in the printing and publishing sectors. The end of these unwarranted tariffs means local newspapers can focus once again on playing a vital role in our democracy by keeping citizens informed and connected to the daily life of their communities.” Read the entire statement here.

“We are immensely gratified today by the International Trade Commission’s vote not to impose permanent tariffs upon the North American newsprint supply. The paper markets serving community newspapers can soon begin to move back to market pricing without the heavy hand of government imposing taxes upon the primary suppliers of newsprint,” said National Newspaper Association President Susan Rowell, publisher of the Lancaster (SC) News, said. Read the entire statement here.

It is heartening that the ITC recognized the threat to democracy that these unnecessary and unfair tariffs posed and the unique and important role that newspapers serve in our system of government. CNPA was at the forefront of this battle, investing a considerable amount of staff time and resources to help NMA and the STOPP Coalition achieve this outstanding result.

CNPA staff wishes to thank the members who spoke to their legislators on this issue and advocated against the tariffs in their publications. Your conversations with Representatives made a significant difference in the outcome.

Please do not hesitate to contact CNPA’s Jim Ewert if you have any questions.