Newsprint tariffs: Bad for jobs and democracy

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By Brad Thompson
 
The U.S. Commerce Department has added anti-dumping duties of up to 32 percent on newsprint and some other paper products from Canada. According to the agency these products benefit from unfair Canadian government subsidies. Most newspaper publishers across the country disagree.

The newly imposed tariff on newsprint is a direct threat to a cornerstone of democracy. Our congressional delegation can help stop this threat.

Newspapers still get a large share of their revenue from their print product. Newspapers buy tons of newsprint every year, and it is a significant portion of their expenses. The tariff imposed by the Department of Congress on Canadian newsprint has cut deeply into revenues and for many community newspapers, it could be an unnecessary threat to survival.

The Michigan Press Association represents more than 280 newspapers in our great state and we fear this tariff is a threat to democracy in the communities they serve.

A government based on democracy requires a knowledgeable citizenry. This tariff will result in more cuts in newsrooms that are gamely doing their best with far less in the way of resources than they once had. Resources that let citizens know what their government is doing on all levels.

This tariff was based on the complaint of one newsprint company in Washington state. It will result in the loss of jobs across the country.

General President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, James P. Hoffa states that the Teamsters oppose this tariff because of “the potential adverse effect to small- and medium-sized publications throughout the country and their workers.”

We ask the public to consider the damage to their communities if there are no watchdog newspapers to report to them. Please contact your member of Congress by July 17, 2018, and urge them to let the ITC know this is a bad tariff. Also ask them to support The Print Act.

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Brad Thompson is chairman and CEO of the Detroit Legal News Company.  He is also president of the Michigan Press Association.

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