July 17, 2018
Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Angus King (I-ME) and Representative Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) testified at an International Trade Commission (ITC) hearing this morning about the urgent crisis facing newspapers, book publishers, and commercial printers in Maine and across the United States.
Today’s hearing was intended to help the ITC reach a final injury determination in regards to a new tariff imposed on Canadian uncoated groundwood paper – better known as “newsprint”—that was levied by the Department of Commerce on behalf of a single domestic paper mill. The import taxes are as high as 32 percent on some products, and that cost is being passed on to printers, book publishers, and newspapers that are already under severe economic stress. In each of their testimonies, Senators Collins and King and Representative Poliquin urged the ITC to consider the serious harm being caused by these tariffs.
“I support strong trade remedy laws that protect American jobs and industries; however, in this particular case, the tariffs are harming the very U.S. industry they are supposed to protect,” said Senator Collins. “The tariffs will hurt the U.S. paper industry because they will cause permanent harm to newspapers, printers, and book publishers, shrinking the U.S. paper industry’s customer base. In fact, the tariffs will likely lead to less production of newsprint by U.S. manufacturers as customers cut their consumption once and for all. This is simply not the way Congress intended the trade laws to work. While the one mill that brought this petition may be able to add jobs in the short-term, it will do so at an enormous cost to jobs in the publishing and printing industries as well as in its own industry over the long term.”
“Local newspapers aren’t just any business – they are vital parts of Maine communities, and important participants in our democracy,” said Senator King. “However, the new tariffs under consideration by the ITC threaten to cause permanent harm to these local cornerstones, while also impacting hundreds of thousands of American jobs in the U.S. newspaper business and paper manufacturing industry, which are already operating on razor-thin margins. I have long pushed for stronger trade enforcement, especially when it involves protecting the domestic paper industry, but this case could result in serious economic and societal harm. I hope that the ITC reviews the full economic impact of this case, and acts in a way that makes sense for all Americans rather than a single mill.”
“One of my top priorities is doing everything I can to protect and grow jobs in Maine, including the thousands in our State’s wood products industry that are critical to Maine’s economy,” said Congressman Poliquin. “Protecting and growing Maine jobs includes making sure our trade policies are fair and Maine workers are competing on a level playing field. I am calling on the ITC to stand up for American and Maine workers by correcting a misguided policy that has enabled a single producer in Washington State to take advantage of manufacturers across the country, including our mills in Maine. The irony is these tariffs are doing harm to the same American industry they are supposed to be protecting. The ITC must act to put Maine workers on a level playing field where they can continue to compete and manufacture their quality product.”
In May, Senator Collins led a bipartisan group of Senators, including Senator Angus King, in introducing the Protecting Rational Incentives in Newsprint Trade Act (PRINT Act). The PRINT Act, cosponsored by 29 bipartisan Senators, has been endorsed by printers and publishers representing more than 600,000 American jobs, would suspend the import taxes on newsprint while the Department of Commerce examines the health of the printing and publishing industry. Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives and cosponsored by Representative Poliquin.
Click HERE for a copy of Senator Collin's remarks
Click HERE for a copy of Senator King's remarks
Click HERE for a copy of Representative Poliquin's remarks