05.16.18

Capito Co-Sponsors Bipartisan Legislation to Address Crisis Facing U.S. Newspapers, Printers, Other Publishers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) this week co-sponsored the Protecting Rational Incentives in Newsprint Trade Act of 2018 (PRINT Act) to address the crisis facing printers and publishers in the United States. This bipartisan legislation, which has been endorsed by printers and publishers representing more than 600,000 American jobs, would suspend the import taxes on uncoated groundwood paper while the Department of Commerce examines the health of—and the effects on—the printing and publishing industry. The bill was introduced by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Angus King (I-Maine).

“The tariffs imposed on uncoated groundwood paper are causing the printing and publishing industry—an already struggling sector—to face unnecessary hardships. This is affecting businesses across the state—such as local newspapers, recycling centers, and large-scale printers,” Senator Capito said. “This new legislation will allow us to evaluate the potential economic consequences of these tariffs and determine the best way to move forward to make sure our businesses aren’t get left behind.”

“Publishers already face economic headwinds due to the migration of advertising from print to digital,” News Media Alliance President & CEO David Chavern said. “We simply cannot absorb extra costs from import taxes. Newspapers will close or be forced to raise prices for readers and advertisers. We are already seeing some papers cut back on news distribution and cut jobs. These tariffs are killing jobs and high-quality news in local communities. We are grateful that Senator King, Senator Collins and the original co-sponsors of the bill showed leadership and stepped up to protect small publishers in local communities across America.”

The Department of Commerce initiated anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations in late 2017 into the Canadian uncoated groundwood paper industry on behalf of a single domestic paper mill. This paper is used by newspapers, book publishers, and numerous other commercial printers in the United States. The import taxes are as high as 32 percent on some products, and that cost is passed on to printers, book publishers, and newspapers that are already under severe economic stress.

Nearly all of the U.S. paper industry opposes these import taxes, including the large trade association representing the entire industry, the American Forest and Paper Association, because the Department of Commerce’s action threatens to decimate the paper industry’s customers and injure printers and publishers.

Specifically, the PRINT Act would:

  • Require a study by the Department of Commerce of the economic wellbeing, health, and vitality of the newsprint industry and the local newspaper publishing industry in the United States.
  • Require a report from the commerce secretary to the president and Congress within 90 days that includes both the findings of the study and any recommendations the secretary considers appropriate.
  • Stay the effect of proceedings of the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission in regards to uncoated groundwood paper until the president certifies that he has received the report and that he has concluded that such a determination is in the economic interest of the United States.
  • Halt the collection of deposits for uncoated groundwood until the president has made such certifications.

The PRINT Act is also co-sponsored by Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.).

The full text of the PRINT Act is available here.

 

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