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Newsprint tariff only punishes print media for doing its job

Judging by the reaction and counter measures other countries are making against Trump administration tariffs, the American consumer will end up the loser with increased prices for hundreds of goods and services.

When the goal is to punish other countries with heavy taxes for American products, tariffs only serve to split our country even further.

The perfect example of how tariffs can be used as a political weapon include the latest taxes on Canadian newsprint supplied to publishers and printers all over the US. The result of 25 to 30 percent tariffs could spur the closing of mostly smaller newspapers around the country.

For the Claremont COURIER, these taxes have already increased by more than $12,000 a year the cost to print the paper delivered to your mailbox each week.

So why these tariffs? Although organizations like the NNA (National Newspaper Association) have focused on reversing the tariff, the reasons behind the tax are perfectly clear to this publisher.

Large newspapers like the New York Times, USA Today and Washington Post not only use the majority of newsprint, they also have maintained large reporting staffs, having developed connections with just about every governmental agency in Washington DC.

These reporters fact check the accuracy of Trump administration statements, catching them with one inaccurate statement after another. Trump will bounce back yelling about fake news with no evidence, only serving to show that newspapers got it right. That’s why it’s so obvious President Trump is the source of fake news. And the louder he gets, the stronger the pushback, the bigger the lie.

In response, President Trump goes on the attack to silence his critics. Now newspapers like the COURIER have been dragged into this mess because we have fewer resources to absorb increased taxes, especially since community publications tend to rely more heavily on print revenue than their larger counterparts.

How did this all come about? One (yes only one) small paper company out of Washington State clalimed companies from Canada had an unfair advantage because of subsidies from the Canadian government. This is inaccurate because most of these Canadian companies also own plants in the US too. It’s a fluid border for companies in the paper business.

But because one US company yelled foul, the Trump administration quickly slapped a tariff on newsprint from Canada that only hurts the industry and their customers. And that, unfortunately, is the plan.

It is no secret that newsprint production has been on the decline because of the move to digital formats by large newspapers. This has kept newsprint prices low for years because of large supply and weaker demand. The price of newsprint is market driven, and the lone paper company from Washington could not manage the market. Until now.

This abuse of trade laws will not silence publishers, but only unify them in the fight against the bully in the White House. Fortunately we now have an outlet to have our voice heard in Congress. The coalition STOPP (Stop Tariffs on Printers and Publishers) has bipartisan support and is seeking 10,000 signatures for a petition denouncing these tariffs as unfair. This petition is important, because we are ultimately fighting for the right to inform the citizenry with accurate information to keep our democracy strong.

The end result is small communities who read newspapers to stay informed about important local news, will lose a critical source. What would Claremont be like without the COURIER?

If you want to get involved and sign the petition against newsprint tariffs, please call (202) 225-3121 or go to the STOPP website at stopnewsprinttariffs.org.