Higgins opposes tariffs on Canadian newsprint

Rise against proposed newsprint taxes

NewsAlert: Canada launches global trade complaint vs US over use of duties

"The well-documented decline in the USA newsprint market is not due to unfair trade, but to a decade-long shift from print to digital distribution of news and information", Mr. Boyle said.

A U.S. Commerce Department decision to impose tariffs on Canadian paper imports is stoking concerns at American newspapers about financial strains facing the news industry.

About half of the newsprint produced by the mill in Corner Brook is exported to the US, totalling about 120,000 tonnes a year.

Norpac has been struggling to stay profitable in the face of shrinking newsprint and paper markets, and it is under pressure to cut costs from its new owners, One Rock Capital.

"That's a huge increase when you look at the business costs for a newspaper", she said.

In the longer term, however, Mason forecasts that the industry will face tough times due to dropping demand that will likely be sped along by higher prices for its customers, largely struggling USA newspaper publishers.

Mike Klingensmith, publisher of the Star Tribune, said Minnesota's largest newspaper spends about $10 million annually on newsprint.

"It would be very significant economic stress on the company", he said, "but it wouldn't put us under".

Higgins, Stefanik and 33 other House members wrote a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to protest the proposed tariffs, which resulted from Northern Pacific Paper Co.'s complaint that Canadian paper manufacturers were undercutting their prices.

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"As for our customers, many can barely pay their printing bills now", the letter said.

To be sure, USA newspapers are using less newsprint. "An escalation in paper prices would push some over the edge, and cost their communities not only the newspaper jobs but the news and advertising support that drives other local jobs". But industry officials said that's due primarily to the shift from print to digital media consumption, not to unfair trade practices.

"Any duties will have a direct and negative impact on ‎U.S. newspapers, especially those in small cities and towns, ‎and result in job losses in the American printing sector‎", the statement said. If Commerce makes an affirmative final determination and the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) makes an affirmative final injury determination, Commerce will issue a CVD order.

Richmond-headquartered Catalyst Paper is among the Canadian companies that will be hit by new American duties of 6%.

Canada is the largest exporter of newsprint in the world, dominated by Resolute Forest Products, Kruger and Catalyst Paper Corp.

"Any duties will have a direct and negative impact on United States newspapers, especially those in small cities and towns, and result in job losses in the American printing sector", the ministers said in a statement.

With almost 400 non-union employees, Norpac is one of Cowlitz County's largest employers. A week after filing the petitions in August, the company announced that it would shut down one of its three paper machines in October, resulting in an undetermined number of layoffs and reducing the plant's capacity by almost one-third to 540,000 tons per year.

The U.S. Department of Commerce ruled Tuesday in a preliminary decision that Canadian producers of uncoated papers used to print newspapers, directories and catalogues are subsidized, acting on the complaint of a single American mill in Washington state.

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