ACTION NEEDED: Newsprint Duties Will Increase Costs & Threaten Jobs
What: On August 30, 2017, the Department of Commerce announced the initiation of anti-dumping duty and countervailing duty investigations of Canadian imports of uncoated groundwood paper, which includes newsprint used by newspapers and other commercial publishers. The sole petitioner seeking protection is North Pacific Paper Company (NORPAC), which is owned by a hedge fund, One Rock Capital Partners that operates only one mill in Longview, Washington. NORPAC’s petition asks for steep import duties in excess of 50 percent.

NORPAC’s petitions do not reflect the views of the paper industry in the United States. In fact, the petitions are opposed by other U.S. producers of newsprint and the American Forest and Paper Association, which represents the broader paper industry.

Why: If Canadian imports of uncoated groundwood paper are subject to duties, prices in the newsprint market will be shocked and the supply chain for newsprint could be disrupted. Duties may incentivize other manufacturers to raise prices or convert capacity from newsprint production to higher grade, more profitable, paper products. With fewer producers, newspapers would face even higher costs or a disruption in supply of a critical raw material.

When: Both Commerce and the International Trade Commission (ITC) will conduct separate investigations. Commerce will make a preliminary determination regarding countervailing duties on January 8, 2018. A preliminary antidumping decision is scheduled for January 16, 2018. If Commerce makes an affirmative preliminary determination in either investigation, the agency will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to begin collecting estimated duties on importers of newsprint. Thus, even before the agencies make their final determination (which would come in late summer or fall 2018), duties will have an immediate financial impact on newspapers that import newsprint from Canada.

The News Media Alliance is taking the lead in this trade case, and has developed a legal, government relations and public relations plan for our industry’s opposition. Today, more than 1,100 newspapers representing small-to-medium sized markets have signed a letter to the Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, asking that he heavily scrutinize the anti-dumping and countervailing duty petitions filed by NORPAC.

ACTION: Please Contact Your Senators / Representatives: The Alliance will be reaching out to select publishers in the weeks ahead to ask newspapers to contact their Members of Congress. At this stage in the process, we are encouraging newspapers to contact their representatives in the House of Representatives to sign an opposition letter to the Secretary of Commerce that is being organized by our champions on this issue: Reps. Ralph Norman (R-Rock Hill, SC), Chuck Fleishmann (R-Chattanooga, TN), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Jamie Raskin (D-Bethesda, MD). 

In the meantime, click the button below to access more information and talking points for use in discussing this issue with your representative or senators, or with leading influencers in your community.

If you have any questions on this initiative please contact Paul Boyle at [email protected] or at 571.366.1150.

The following link provides contact information for the Montana U.S. delegation: