08.02.18

SCHUMER ANNOUNCES: FOLLOWING HIS FULL COURT PRESS, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE REDUCES UNWISE AND UNJUST DUTIES THAT HARM AMERICAN COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS, PAPER PRODUCERS AND JOBS; SENATOR VOWS TO CONTINUE FIGHT AGAINST TARIFFS BY URGING THE INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION TO FULLY ELIMINATE THEM

Schumer: Local Newspapers Are Fundamental To Vibrant Upstate Communities And Healthy Democracy And Lowering These Unwise And Damaging Tariffs Is A Positive Step – But Now The ITC Must Eliminate Them

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced that today, following his push, the U.S. Department of Commerce lowered the rates on the tariffs on uncoated Canadian groundwood paper imports imposed earlier this year, that severely impacted New York’s already at-risk community newspapers and paper producers. The Department of Commerce reached the final stage of their investigation into Canadian producer’s practices of subsidization and dumping this week, and released their final decision today.

“Lowering these unwise and unjust tariffs is a positive step in the right direction to support our already at-risk community newspapers, the American paper industry and the many jobs it supports. Our local newspapers are fundamental to vibrant communities and healthy democracy, which is why I fought so hard to push the U.S. Department of Commerce to lower these unwise tariffs on the raw material used by New York’s newspaper and printing companies. I will now use my influence as the Senate Minority Leader to push the United States International Trade Commission to use their authority to end these unjustified tariffs,” said Senator Schumer.

Schumer added that while the Department of Commerce’s decision to use their discretion to lower the tariffs was, “A step in the right direction, the final tariffs will still harm upstate New York’s newspapers and printers like Quad Graphics in Saratoga Springs, so the ITC should take decisive action later this month and eliminate these unwise tariffs.”

Schumer said that the decision would give newspapers and printing companies across New York State some breathing room, as the rates they paid for the paper they use to print would be reduced, but that the duties still put small and regional newspapers and printers at risk. Schumer vowed to keep pushing back against the tariffs over the coming weeks with the United States International Trade Commission., where he will make the case that the low levels of subsidies form Canadian producers do not justify tariffs that could cause a greater shift to digital media and undermine US jobs. The International Trade Commission (ITC) will have the final say in whether the duties are made permanent. The ITC is scheduled to make their determination on September 17 and is expected to vote on August 29.

Schumer explained that the Department of Commerce decided to use their discretion to not apply the final dumping margin to most Canadian producers. This will mean that duties on most Candian producers will drop from around 29 to 8.5 percent. Additionally, a large Canadian supplier of some New York newspapers, Kruger, will see their duties drop from around 32 to 10 percent. Schumer said this determination will give some breathing room for newspaper and printing industries throughout Upstate New York, reducing the burden of the unwise and unjust tariffs for companies.

Schumer explained groundwood paper imports from Canada are primarily used as newsprint, but also as retail inserts by producers in New York. There are 721 newspapers in New York with a print readership of more than 15 million. Schumer said constituents expressed concerns that the initial duties could have had a particularly adverse impact in the Northeast region. Moreover, Schumer said that New York newspapers were concerned that due to the predominance of Canadian imports in the Northeast region, the lack of any U.S. groundwood producer in the region and the lack of production capacity in the U.S., the duties would have dramatically increased their operating costs.

Schumer had heard from many in printing and the newspaper industry in New York State and beyond that were worried that they would not be able to absorb the costs of the tariffs and be forced to cut production and potentially go out of business. In their recent survey, the New Media Alliance found that most newspapers would not have been able to pass along the costs to subscribers, that more than half of newspapers reported experiencing newsprint supply shortages, more than 70% have reduced the number of pages printed, more than 10% have reduced the frequency of publication, and nearly half of newspapers have reduced staff because of the tariffs. A permanent tariff could have led to an intensified shift to digital products in the industry, which would have further harmed U.S. groundwood paper producers.

Schumer first launched his effort to push back against the administration’s paper tariffs in January of this year, when he sounded the alarm and said that the tariffs had the potential to force local newspapers to drastically slash their staffs. Schumer renewed his effort earlier this month, during a trip to Quad Graphics, in Saratoga, N.Y., where he gave specific statistics on how the tariffs would cost Quad Graphics and their customers $90 million annually, and again, called on the Department of Commerce to reverse course and stop the permanent implementation of the tariffs.

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