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Congressman Joe Courtney

Representing the 2nd District of Connecticut

COURTNEY STATEMENT ON ITC REJECTION OF NEWSPRINT TARIFFS

August 29, 2018
Press Release

Norwich, CT —Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) welcomed the International Trade Commission’s vote to overturn tariffs imposed on Canadian newsprint by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The decision today comes after Courtney supported efforts to urge the commission to reject the tariff proposal.

“Today’s unanimous decision to reject tariffs on Canadian newsprint is welcome news for newsrooms across Connecticut and around the country,” Courtney said. “Connecticut print media companies import 100% of their newsprint from Canada, and the Trump Administration’s proposed tariffs would have increased their average costs by nearly 20% -- which would have resulted in cuts to content and employees. Adding tariffs to newsprint ad hoc creates enormous financial handicaps for businesses throughout the country, and this was the right call today by the U.S. International Trade Commission.”

Background:

On August 2, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced its final duty rates of up to 20.26% on Canadian newsprint. This was the result of a petition filed with the International Trade Commission (ITC) by the North Pacific Paper Company (NORPAC) of Longview, WA, which alleged that U.S. producers of uncoated groundwood paper were being harmed by the import of cheaper Canadian paper. The ITC has found—and today’s unanimous vote rejecting the tariffs has confirmed—that Canadian uncoated groundwood paper imports do not injure U.S. producers. While the Department of Commerce’s proposed tariffs had yet to go into effect, they had already caused newsprint prices to inflate 30%.

According to the Connecticut Daily Newspaper Association, 100% of all Connecticut newsprint is imported from Canada and the proposed tariffs would have increased newspaper prices by $0.67 per copy. Publications had confirmed that these costs would not be passed to subscribers, but rather would result in staff layoffs and reduction of content.

Courtney strongly opposed the new tariffs and supported bipartisan efforts to urge the ITC’s rejection of the plan. For instance, he signed a bipartisan letter signed by 18 of his colleagues urging rejection of the tariffs. In addition, he led a letter signed by members of the Connecticut Delegation citing the heavy impact of the new tariffs on Connecticut newspapers.

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