Tariff will hurt newspapers

There is a proposed tariff that concerns publishers and printers across the country. The impact would be devastating on small publishers, including us. In addition to producing our own Leader-Herald and Extra, we print many other Capital District newspapers.

The News Media Alliance and other partners of STOP the Tarriff Against Printers and Publishers are fighting the unwarranted countervailing and anti-dumping duties imposed on Canadian imports this year by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The federal action is a result of NORPAC, a Washington state newsprint producer that complained to the Department of Commerce and International Trade Commission it was negatively impacted by Canadian producers selling too cheaply compared to other nations.

Duties against Canadian producers began in January and range from about 0.5 percent to 10 percent. Another set of duties began in March with a high assessment of 22 percent for alleged underpricing.

We, like most northeastern newspaper publishers, get most of our paper from Canada, not NORPAC in Washington state. The newsprint we use is made from wood chips left from logs sawn from construction lumber — not trees, as most would think. Many newsprint mills in both countries either have closed or have been converted to other paper products due to less demand. The U.S. requires 75 percent less newsprint today than it did a decade ago, as there is the digital option.

This increase could drive us faster to more digital readership, regardless of whether consumers want it or not.

Increasing prices from a tariff won’t affect the consumer buying a copy of the newspaper as much as it will affect our business that purchases tons of newsprint to print newspapers.

We will also be affected with the tariff on aluminum, since our printing plates are made of aluminum. Just like a can of soda will be a small increase for the consumer, it will be a big impact on the distributor that buys a lot of aluminum to make products.

These tariffs could increase the price of newsprint by as much as 35 percent. They come on top of cost increases all businesses face, such as for employees’ health care, minimum wage and workers’ compensation.

We plan to fight this unnecessary tariff on newsprint to save our 50-plus jobs and our local ecomomy in the communities we serve. Therefore, we ask our region’s economic development experts, chambers of commerce and business groups to send letters of concern to U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross.

Next year we celebrate our 131st year in business, and with your support, we hope to be your local news source for another century.

Adapted from an Adirondack Daily Enterprise editorial