The Southern Illinois Editorial Association strongly opposes new tariffs on Canadian newsprint.
The newspaper industry has faced several challenges over the past decade that have led to a decline in advertising revenue, circulation and, ultimately, the number of people employed in the industry and the number of newspapers in print. The demand for newsprint in America has declined 75 percent since 2000. This decline can be attributed mostly to recession and market forces and, to a lesser degree, internet competition.
The Department of Commerce has recently announced new tariffs on Canadian newsprint that will further impede the newspaper industry. Most newsprint used in the U.S. comes from Canada. In fact, only one U.S. mill in Washington State (North Pacific Paper Company) has petitioned in favor of these tariffs. No other U.S. newsprint mills have supported the petition, which is opposed by the American Forest and Paper Industry.
Some newspapers, including Southern Illinois community newspapers, have already reported increases of 20 to 30 percent in printing costs. Most of these newspapers cannot absorb these additional costs and will have to raise prices, layoff employees or simply close.
Many of these newspapers are small, weekly newspapers that communities rely on to hold local officials accountable as well as to inform them about sports accomplishments, obituaries, weddings, births, etc. These newspapers are institutions that help define their communities. They are the embodiment of the First Amendment. The continued loss of these institutions will have a lasting, negative impact on democracy itself.
From a purely business viewpoint, these tariffs might help with a handful of jobs in one state while costing hundreds, perhaps thousands, of jobs across the nation.
If you agree that trade laws should not be used in this manner, to help one individual business while hurting thousands of others, please contact your federal officials and let them know that you oppose tariffs on newsprint.
President, Southern Illinois Editorial Association
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