Congressmembers Brian Higgins (NY-26), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), John Faso (NY-19), John Katko (NY-24) and Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) led a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and International Trade Commission (ITC) Chairman Rhonda Schmidtlein urging reconsideration of the tariffs on Canadian uncoated groundwood paper (UGW), used as newsprint, which will have a severe impact on local newspapers.

Members sent the bipartisan letter to voice their concerns about the tariffs, imposed in January and increased in March, which reach as high as 32 percent.

In the letter, the Representatives state: “Over the past decade, there has been an industry wide shift toward digital media from newsprint. The petitioner’s claim that the decline in demand for US newsprint is a result of imported Canadian newsprint rings hollow in light of the reality of an industry trying to adapt to a changing market in a digital age. As an industry that is already confronting a decline in newspaper circulation, readership and print advertising due to increased internet competition an affirmative final determination from the International Trade Commission has the potential to destabilize the industry and accelerate the decline of print news media.”

The letter goes on to express concern about the effects tariffs will have on smaller local and regional publications that may not have the scale to weather tariffs of this kind. Local journalism is integral in keeping citizens engaged in their communities and is sometimes one of the only ways to access information about local government, economy, and community activities.

Stop Tariffs on Printers & Publishers, a group consisting of American printers, publishers, paper suppliers and distributors, representing over 600,000 American workers, is also calling attention to the negative impact the tariffs will have on their 66 member organizations.

Currently, the tariffs are not permanent, and the ITC’s investigation is ongoing, with final determinations expected to be made later this year. 

Read the full text of the letter here.