Wicker fights against newsprint tariffs

Published 7:32 pm Tuesday, July 17, 2018

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., testified in front of the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) in opposition to tariffs on imports of newsprint from Canada. The new tariffs threaten domestic newsprint producers, including those with operations in Mississippi, and would hurt the local newspapers that purchase newsprint from them. 

“My greatest concern is how these tariffs will harm a major newsprint producer in my state, as well as the many small and rural newspapers who operate with small budgets and tight margins,” Wicker said during his testimony Tuesday. “These tariffs will not hurt newspapers alone. Commercial printers, book publishers, and the many retail stores that advertise using newsprint will also suffer. Together, these sectors represent some 600,000 jobs and are located in every state across the country. It is for these reasons that I urge you to reject these tariffs.”   

Resolute Forest Products in Grenada, is one of five mills in the United States that produces uncoated groundwood paper, also known as newsprint. The mill employs over 160 workers, and supports an additional 500 jobs in the community, representing an economic impact of approximately $100 million.

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The Mississippi Press Association, and the 110 newspapers they represent, also oppose newsprint tariffs. Both the Vicksburg Post and the Natchez Democrat have cut production to five days per week because of preliminary tariffs.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Commerce Department imposed tariffs, as high as 30 percent, on newsprint in response to claims by North Pacific Paper Company (NORPAC), a single paper mill operating in the Pacific Northwest. Other than NORPAC, the U.S. paper industry largely opposes the tariffs because they are causing deep and lasting harm to the industry’s primary customers.

In May, Wicker cosponsored the “Protecting Rational Incentives in Newsprint Trade (PRINT) Act.” The legislation would suspend the import taxes on newsprint while the Department of Commerce examines the impacts of these tariffs on the U.S. printing and publishing industry.