ITC Reverses the Tariffs on Newsprint

We know that one of the concerns at the forefront of our members’ minds this summer was the ongoing “newsprint tariff” issue that has already resulted in the increase of printing costs for newspapers around the country.  After a single Pacific Northwest-based paper mill, NORPAC, filed petitions alleging that Canadian imports of uncoated groundwood paper are being subsidized, the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission (“ITC”) each released initial findings siding with NORPAC. As a result, tariffs as high as 32% were assessed on Canadian imports of newsprint.

In response, the newspaper industry banded together with printers, publishers, paper suppliers and distributors to fight back, creating the STOPP Coalition AAN joined the STOPP Coalition in March to help get the word out to members and facilitate action before the Department of Commerce, the ITC and Congress.  We were a bit disheartened when the Department of Commerce ruled in early August that the tariffs should be decreased only slightly.  This put all our hopes and expectations on the outcome of a similar proceeding in the ITC.

The ITC held a hearing at which representatives of the affected industries and members of Congress argued against the need for these tariffs.  They must have done some great work because we are happy to say that the ITC announced today that its eliminating the tariffs entirely.  Not only will the money collected at the border be returned to the importing companies but the tariffs will not be assessed going forward. This should alleviate the increase in printing costs that have been felt – and widely discussed by AAN members and the media generally – over the past several months.  NORPAC does have the right to appeal the decision but has not yet indicated whether it will do so.

You can read a statement from the STOPP Coalition here.  You eventually will be able to read the ITC’s entire reasoning behind this decision here. It is expected to be released by October 8 and can be found by looking for “Uncoated Groundwood Paper from Canada (Inv. Nos. 701-TA-584 and 731-TA-1382 (Final), USITC Publication 4822, September 2018).”

For the time being, then, let’s enjoy this win because, if it stands, it will be a truly momentous and hard fought victory. A bit “THANK YOU” to any and all AAN members who lent their voice in any way.

Kevin M. Goldberg
AAN Legal Counsel

Jason Zaragoza
Executive Director