07.25.18

SCHUMER: WITH NY JOBS & LOCAL NEWSPAPERS ON THE LINE, COMMERCE DEPARTMENT MUST REVERSE COURSE ON PENDING AUGUST 1st DECISION; SENATOR DOUBLES DOWN ON COMMERCE SECRETARY NOT TO UNJUSTLY HAMMER NEW YORK’S AT-RISK NEWSPAPER INDUSTRY; IF PERMANENT TARIFF TAKES SHAPE, NEWSPAPERS COULD BE FORCED TO RAISE PRICES, LOSE CUSTOMERS AND SLASH LOCAL STAFF – OR EVEN GO OUT OF BUSINESS

In January 2018, At Behest Of One Failing West Coast Firm And Its Wall Street Owner, The Department Of Commerce Imposed Preliminary Duties On Uncoated Groundwood Paper From Canada That Have Drastically Reduced The Profitability Of Newspapers And Printers Throughout Upstate NY; Vital Newspaper Ingredient Is Not Produced In The Northeast US

Schumer Doubled Down On Call To Department Of Commerce To Consider The Crushing Impact Permanent Duties Will Have On Already-Struggling Companies And Newspapers Across Upstate New York And Reverse Course; Says That, “Upstate New York’s Hometown Papers Are Fundamental To An Informed Citizenry, Healthy Communities And A Vibrant Democracy.” 

Schumer To Commerce Department: Upstate New York’s Hometown Newspapers Are Hanging On The Brink Of Survival – Don’t Push Them Over The Cliff With Unwise And Unjustified Tariffs 

On a conference call with reporters, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today doubled down on his push to the U.S. Department of Commerce to reverse course from their decision to impose harmful duties on groundwood paper, the raw material used by New York’s already at-risk upstate and local newspaper companies for newsprint. Schumer noted this ingredient is not made by any producers in the northeast and said printing companies and newspapers across New York are already being negatively affected by Department of Commerce’s preliminary duties of this paper. He indicated that they would suffer even more should they be made permanent in Commerce’s final determination on August 1. 

In addition, Schumer explained that the meteoric rise of digital media has already pushed many small and regional newspapers to the brink of extinction, and that these unwise and unjust tariffs could push them over the edge. A recent survey from the News Media Alliance of New York newspapers found that, on average, New York newspapers have cut an average of 6 pages from their publications.

“From the Buffalo News, to the Poughkeepsie Journal and the Syracuse Post-Standard to the Watertown Daily Times, Upstate New York’s hometown papers are fundamental to an informed citizenry, healthy communities and a vibrant democracy. That is why I am doubling down on my push to the U.S. Department of Commerce to reconsider their decision to impose duties on the raw material used by New York’s already at-risk upstate and local newspaper companies,” said Senator Schumer. “Simply put, their decision is harmful to newspapers in every hometown from Oswego to Long Island – and will lose American jobs and threaten American companies – so the Department of Commerce should reconsider this decision, study the impacts on the domestic industry and find a new way forward.”

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 are concerned that assessed duties could have a particularly adverse impact in the Northeast region. Moreover, Schumer said that New York newspapers are 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., duties could dramatically increase their operating costs.

Schumer has heard from many in printing and the newspaper industry in New York State and beyond that are worried that they will not be able to absorb these costs and would be forced to cut production and potentially go out of business. In their recent survey, the New Media Alliance found that most newspapers will not be 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 lead to an intensified shift to digital products in the industry, which could harm U.S. groundwood paper producers. Schumer explained that with many small and local newspapers already seeing their margins diminished by the rise of digital media, the tariffs on groundwood paper could force them into additional budgetary cuts, and even towards bankruptcy.

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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