A top trade commission just dismantled Trump’s tariffs that were wrecking newspapers

  • The US International Trade Commission rolled back the Trump administration’s tariffs on imported newsprint from Canada on Wednesday, in a big win for the newspaper industry.
  • The ITC determined that US newsprint producers were not harmed by the Canadian imports.
  • The newsprint tariff caused a large cost increase for local newspapers around the US.
  • Many papers responded by slimming down their papers or laying off workers.

The US International Trade Commission has nullified the tariffs put into place for imported newsprint by finding American producers weren’t harmed by imports from Canadian paper mills.

The ruling is a victory for the US newspaper industry, which complained that the rising cost of newsprint made it harder to operate and required them to trim the size of papers or lay off employees.

Dozens of lawmakers from both parties had urged the ITC to reject a complaint that alleged dumping and subsidies had harmed US paper mills.

Following the ITC decision, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer cheered the move on Twitter.

“These tariffs were extremely harmful to our regional papers-the lifeblood of our local communities-& I worked hard to remove them,” Schumer said. “ITC made exactly the right decision to completely eliminate them. I will remain vigilant to make sure that they never return.”

The Commerce Department had imposed the tariffs in January as a response to a complaint from a hedge fund-owned paper producer in Washington state, Norpac, which argued that its Canadian competitors took advantage of government subsidies to sell their product at unfairly low prices.

According to the Commerce Department, the US imported $1.27 billion worth of Canadian newsprint in 2016.

In response, many local newspaper groups reported a squeeze to their bottom lines. For instance, the Tampa Bay Times, one of the largest newspapers in the US, announced it was laying off 50 people in April due to the increased cost of newsprint.

Other local newspapers also reduced their workforce or trimmed the number of pages in response.

The Trump administration originally took a step back from the tariffs on August 2, announcing that the tariff would be reduced to roughly 17% from the original 32%. At the time the Department of Commerce said that the reduction was because the alleged dumping of newsprint by Canadian suppliers was not as bad as originally estimated.

According to the Commerce Department, the US imported $1.27 billion worth of Canadian newsprint in 2016.