Sen. Moran Joins Senate Colleagues in Introducing Bipartisan Legislation to Address Crisis Facing U.S. Newspapers, Printers and Other Publishers
May 15 2018
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) this week joined a bipartisan group of colleagues in introducing the Protecting Rational Incentives in Newsprint Trade Act of 2018 (PRINT Act). This legislation, which has been endorsed by printers and publishers representing more than 600,000 American jobs, would suspend import taxes on uncoated groundwood paper while the Department of Commerce examines the health of – and the effects on – the printing and publishing industry.
“A local newspaper is important to every community in Kansas, yet every Kansas newspaper is facing significant challenges to stay in business,” said Sen. Moran. “Increasing tariffs on newsprint means that printing a newspaper becomes more expensive, resulting in less local news, weather and sports reaching mailboxes and front porches in Kansas. I will continue working with my colleagues to encourage the Department of Commerce to consider these consequences before moving forward with implementing these tariffs.”
“Publishers already face economic headwinds due to the migration of advertising from print to digital,” said President & CEO of News Media Alliance David Chavern. “We simply cannot absorb extra costs from import taxes. Newspapers will close or be forced to raise prices for readers and advertisers. We are already seeing some papers cut back on news distribution and cut jobs. These tariffs are killing jobs and high-quality news in local communities. We are grateful that Senator King, Senator Collins and the original co-sponsors of the bill showed leadership and stepped up to protect small publishers in local communities across America.”
The Department of Commerce initiated antidumping and countervailing duty investigations in late 2017 into the Canadian uncoated groundwood paper industry on behalf of a single domestic paper mill – this paper is used by newspapers, book publishers and numerous other commercial printers in the United States. The import taxes are as high as 32 percent on some products, and that cost is passed on to printers, book publishers and newspapers that are already under severe economic stress.
Nearly all of the U.S. paper industry opposes these import taxes, including the large trade association representing the industry, the American Forest and Paper Association, because the Department of Commerce’s action threatens to decimate the paper industry’s customers and injure printers and publishers.
The PRINT Act is also sponsored by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Angus King (I-Maine), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.).
Specifically, the PRINT Act would:
- Require a study by the Department of Commerce of the economic wellbeing, health and vitality of the newsprint industry and the local newspaper publishing industry in the United States;
- Require a report from the Commerce Secretary to the president and Congress within 90 days that includes both the findings of the study and any recommendations the secretary considers appropriate;
- Stay the effect of proceedings of the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission in regards to uncoated groundwood paper until the president certifies that he has received the report and that he has concluded that such a determination is in the economic interest of the United States; and
- Halt the collection of deposits for uncoated groundwood until the president has made such certifications.
Click here for full text of the PRINT Act.