Senators Collins, King Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Address Crisis Facing U.S. Newspapers, Printers, and Other Publishers

Click HERE for the text of the PRINT Act.

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Angus King (I-ME) introduced 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. 

 

Senators Collins and King’s bill is cosponsored by Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Doug Jones (D-AL), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).

 

“The U.S. printing and publishing industry is facing an unprecedented threat from crippling new import tariffs imposed on Canadian uncoated groundwood paper – better known as ‘newsprint’ –  which is used by newspapers, book publishers, and commercial printers,” said Senator Collins.  “As a Senator representing one of our nation’s leading papermaking states, I have consistently fought for actions to ensure a level playing field for the domestic papermaking industry.  In this case, however, one domestic mill owned by a venture capital firm appears to be taking advantage of trade remedies to add to its own bottom line, putting thousands of American jobs at risk.  I encourage my colleagues to support this bipartisan bill to fully evaluate the economic impact of these tariffs before they harm our local newspapers and printing industries.”

 

“Throughout Maine, small town newspapers remain a principal source of information for people looking to read the news, learn about the goings-on in their communities, and stay up-to-date on current events,” Senator King said. “But new tariffs on uncoated groundwood paper could jeopardize this access to information and impact hundreds of thousands of American jobs in the U.S. newspaper business and paper manufacturing industry, which are already operating on razor-thin margins. I have consistently fought for stronger trade enforcement, especially when it involves protecting the domestic paper industry, and must take action to ensure the Department of Commerce hears the serious concerns of the domestic paper manufacturing industry. The PRINT Act would help us better understand the damaging consequences of the DOC’s decision to impose duties and help ensure local newspapers don’t bear an undue burden from these misguided tariffs, so people in Maine and in rural towns across America, can continue to receive their local news from hometown papers.”

 

“Publishers already face economic headwinds due to the migration of advertising from print to digital,” said David Chavern, President & CEO, News Media Alliance.  “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 antidumping 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:

 

  1. 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;

 

  1. 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;

 

  1. 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; and

 

  1. Halt the collection of deposits for uncoated groundwood paper until the president has made such certifications.