The newspaper you are holding in your hands is an entirely local product, but the actual paper it is printed on may have come from Canada. That assumes you are reading a physical newspaper printed on newsprint and not a digital version.
Since January, tariffs imposed on Canadian imports of newsprint have disrupted delivery and increased newsprint costs by nearly 30 percent, according to David Chavern, president and CEO of the News Media Alliance.
There was good news this week, however.
The International Trade Commission (ITC) voted 5-0 Wednesday that Canadian imports of uncoated groundwood paper do not cause “material injury” to U.S. paper producers. “They made the right call today in reversing these harmful tariffs,” Chavern said Wednesday.
Emily Bradbury, executive director of the Kansas Press Association, also weighed in on the ruling, thanking Sen. Jerry Moran for being one of the first to support a repeal of this tariff.
One U.S. paper mill, NORPAC, made the trade case demonstrating injury from competition, which led to the tariff. The Department of Commerce and ITC investigated these claims. During the investigations, News Media Alliance emphasized that “the decades-long shift of news and information from print to digital platforms – not imports from Canada – is the cause of the decline in demand for newsprint.”
We’ve seen how tariffs hurt Kansas farmers who depend on exporting products to buyers in other countries. And recently we heard how tariffs on steel have increased the cost of building trailers right here in Great Bend. Likewise, tariffs on newsprint hurt local papers. Local businesses are hurt and even democracy can suffer.
“Local papers provide essential coverage of local governments and community news and events,” Chavern wrote. “In many communities, the local paper is the only source of community news. Unfortunately, the damage to newspapers from preliminary tariffs imposed by the Department of Commerce since January has already been done. The tariffs have disrupted the newsprint market, increasing newsprint costs by nearly 30 percent and forcing many newspapers to reduce their print distribution and cut staff.”
If you’re a paper producer in the Northwest, tariffs on Canadian imports may be to your benefit. U.S. steel companies would prefer not to have to compete with China. There will always be winners and losers in trade wars, but Kansans and American consumers as a whole benefit from free trade.