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Wicker fights to stop paper tariffs

There have been thousands of stories published about the various tariffs implemented by the Trump administration. One you may not have heard much about is a tariff on newsprint — the paper you are holding in your hand if you are reading the print edition.

That tariff of up to 30 percent on newsprint from Canada has increased the price of newsprint everywhere, meaning the business of journalism has gotten more difficult and more costly.

The cost of paper is the second largest expense for most newspaper companies. A 30 percent increase is not easily absorbed or passed on to customers.

The tariffs on newsprint from Canada came about at the request of a single paper producer. It is seeking to protect its bottom line, but the result could be disastrous for community newspapers across the country.

There is an effort to stop the tariffs, and U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., on Tuesday testified in front of the U.S. International Trade Commission in opposition to tariffs.

“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. “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 newsprint. The mill employs more than 160 workers, and supports an additional 500 jobs in the community, representing an economic impact of approximately $100 million.

The Mississippi Press Association, and the 110 newspapers it represents, including The Daily Leader, oppose these tariffs.

We appreciate Sen. Wicker’s efforts to stop these harmful tariffs. We hope his efforts, and the efforts of other legislators, will be enough for the ITC to reverse course and remove the tariffs. A final determination by the ITC is expected in the coming months.