//Isakson Sponsors Bipartisan Legislation to Help Newspapers, Printers, Publishers

Isakson Sponsors Bipartisan Legislation to Help Newspapers, Printers, Publishers

From the Office of U.S. Senator Isakson: 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., joined a bipartisan group of his Senate colleagues in introducing legislation to address the crisis facing printers and publishers in the United States.

The Protecting Rational Incentives in Newsprint Trade Act of 2018, or PRINT Act for short, would suspend the import taxes on uncoated groundwood paper while the U.S. Department of Commerce examines the health of—and the effects on—the printing and publishing industry.

“Local newspapers are a vital source of news and community information, especially in rural and small-town America. Unfair or punitive action taken against producers of groundwood paper would threaten to put many Georgia newspapers out of business and could cost up to 1,000 jobs in Georgia,” said Isakson. “I have consistently fought for a level playing field for domestic producers, but in this case, unfair manipulation of trade remedy laws could endanger jobs across Georgia and the country. We are urging the administration to exercise caution in its pursuit of new tariffs on imported newsprint until Congress can review and understand the full possible effects on this industry before these taxes are collected.”

Specifically, the PRINT Act would:

  • Require a study by the Department of Commerce of the economic wellbeing, health and vitality of the newsprint industry and the local newspaper publishing industry in the United States;
  • Require a report from the commerce secretary to the president and Congress within 90 days that includes both the findings of the study and any recommendations the secretary considers appropriate;
  • Suspend the effect of proceedings of the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission with respect to uncoated groundwood paper until the president certifies that he has received the report and that he has concluded that such a determination is in the national interest; and
  • Halt the collection of deposits for uncoated groundwood until the president has made such certifications.

Background:

The Department of Commerce initiated antidumping and countervailing duty investigations in late 2017 into the Canadian uncoated groundwood paper industry on behalf of a single domestic paper mill.  This paper is used by newspapers, book publishers and numerous other commercial printers in the United States.  The import taxes are as high as 32 percent on some products, and that cost is passed on to printers, book publishers and newspapers that are already under severe economic stress.

Isakson also led a bipartisan coalition of senators in sending a letter on Jan. 5, 2018, urging the administration to exercise caution in its pursuit of a pending trade investigation involving imported newsprint and other commercial printing papers used by small-town newspapers in Georgia and around the country. The senators argue that trade sanctions could hurt American manufacturers of groundwood paper, American printers and their employees, posing a threat to nearly 1,000 jobs in Georgia and 600,000 jobs in the publishing and commercial printing sector nationwide, especially in rural areas.

Nearly all of the U.S. paper industry opposes these import taxes, including the large trade association representing the entire industry, the American Forest and Paper Association, because the Department of Commerce’s action threatens to decimate the paper industry’s customers and injure printers and publishers.

The legislation was introduced on Monday, May 14, by Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, and in addition to Isakson, is cosponsored by Senators Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Deb Fischer, R-Neb., Doug Jones, D-Ala., Angus King, I-Maine, Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.V., Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss.

This bipartisan legislation has been endorsed by printers and publishers representing more than 600,000 American jobs.