Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., is co-sponsor of federal legislation that would temporarily suspend tariffs on paper, imported from Canada, that is used by newspapers and book publishers.

The bill, Protecting Rational Incentives in Newsprint Trade, also known as the PRINT Act, would suspend import taxes on uncoated groundwood paper while the Department of Commerce examines the health of the printing and publishing industry.

“A local newspaper is important to every community in Kansas, yet every Kansas newspaper is facing significant challenges to stay in business,” Moran said. “Increasing tariffs on newsprint means that printing a newspaper becomes more expensive, resulting in less local news, weather and sports reaching mailboxes and front porches in Kansas. I will continue working with my colleagues to encourage the Department of Commerce to consider these consequences before moving forward with implementing these tariffs.”

Hurting industry

In August 2017, the Department of Commerce began investigating whether paper imports from Canada are being dumped in the U.S. at less than fair value and whether Canadian producers are receiving unfair government subsidies.

David Chavern, CEO of News Media Alliance, whose members represent nearly 2,000 news organizations in the U.S., announced his support for the PRINT Act.

“Publishers already face economic headwinds due to the migration of advertising from print to digital,” he said in a news release. “We simply cannot absorb extra costs from import taxes. Newspapers will close or be forced to raise prices for readers and advertisers. We are already seeing some papers cut back on news distribution and cut jobs. These tariffs are killing jobs and high-quality news in local communities.”

Act requires study

The PRINT Act is also sponsored by Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine; Angus King, I-Maine; Roy Blunt, R-Mo.; Doug Jones, D-Ala.; Deb Fischer, R-Neb.; Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.; Roger Wicker, R-Miss.; Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va..

The PRINT Act would require the Department of Commerce to study the wellbeing of the local newspaper publishing industry and require the commerce secretary to send a report to President Donald Trump and Congress that includes the study and any recommendations the secretary considers appropriate. The bill would stay the effects of the proceedings of the Department of Commerce regarding uncoated groundwood paper until Trump certifies that he has received the report and concluded that the department’s conclusion is in the economic interest of the United States.