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January 05, 2018

Senators Collins, King Fight to Protect Jobs, Local Newspapers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Angus King (I-ME) joined a bipartisan group yesterday in writing to the administration to express concern about a pending trade investigation involving imported newsprint and other commercial printing papers used by local newspapers in Maine and across the country. 

Specifically, the Senators’ letter pertains to the administration’s ongoing review of a petition by one manufacturer claiming that Canadian producers of the uncoated groundwood paper primarily used for newsprint, book publishing, and the printing industry are receiving unfair trade subsidies.  If the petition is successful, it could increase the cost of groundwood paper by 30 percent.

In their letter to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the senators argue that, in addition to the harm tariffs would cause the newspaper industry across the United States, trade sanctions could hurt American manufacturers of groundwood paper, American printers, and their employees, posing a threat to nearly 600,000 jobs in the publishing and commercial printing sector nationwide, especially in rural areas.

“People in small towns all over America still depend on their local newspapers. These petitions threaten to put those newspapers out of business and cut off rural and small-town America from their local news as well as from marketing opportunities that are vital to economic growth in these communities,” the senators wrote.

“As you investigate this issue, we urge you to consider the potential negative impact that any trade remedy would have on the U.S. newspaper and commercial printing industries, as well as the overall U.S. paper manufacturing industry,” the senators continued. “It is our understanding that the majority of U.S. newsprint manufacturers, and even the national trade association for the U.S. forest and paper industry, the American Forest and Paper Association, as well as their major U.S. customers, oppose this petition.”

The letter urged the U.S. Department of Commerce to “fairly assess the potential impacts any punitive duties on uncoated groundwood paper could have on hundreds of thousands of American jobs and the local news lifeline for rural small towns.”

In addition to Senators Collins and King, the bipartisan letter was signed by Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

The entire text of the letter can be read HERE.

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