Saturday, June 9, 2018

Newsprint Tariffs Threaten Local Newspapers

A dozen House lawmakers have introduced legislation to remove President Trump's tariffs on Canadian newsprint so a study can be done on how much those tariffs are crushing local newspapers around the country.

According to The Washington Examiner, the bill, introduced by Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., is a response to the 22 percent tariff that the Trump administration has imposed on some Canadian newsprint since the beginning of this year. Noem said that tariff has led to rising costs for local newspapers, and are a threat to their survival.

"In recent years, new tariffs on Canadian newsprint have increased paper prices by 20 to 30 percent," Noem said in a statement. "That's significant. A paper that services around 20,000 customers, for instance, could see paper costs rise by about a quarter-million dollars annually, threatening the newspaper's survival."

Local papers have been complaining this year about rising costs, and Noem and her colleagues are hoping to give them at least a temporary break from the cost hike.

Under her bill, U.S. tariffs on newsprint would be put on hold until the Commerce Department studies "the negative impact the tariffs have on our hometown newspapers."

The bill has bipartisan support, as it's also co-sponsored by Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla. But the other 10 co-sponsors are Republicans, which reflect the opposition some GOP lawmakers have to Trump's decision to hit many U.S. trading partners with tariffs.

The newsprint tariffs are being collected, but they are not finalized yet. The Commerce Department is set to finalize its decision by August.

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