In a dramatic turnaround, the U.S. International Trade Commission has reversed a Trump administration decision to impose heavy tariffs on paper products imported into the U.S from Canada.
The administration first levied the tariffs in January at the request of the Washington State–based North Pacific Paper Company, whose representatives contended that the Canadian government was subsidizing the manufacturing of paper, thereby hurting paper production in the U.S. Tariffs, which ran as high as 20%, were placed on uncoated groundwood paper, which is the grade used to make paper for both books and newsprint.
In overturning the tariffs, the ITC placed a statement on its website that read: “A U.S. industry is not materially injured or threatened with material injury by reason of imports of uncoated groundwood paper from Canada that the U.S. Department of Commerce has determined are subsidized and sold in the United States at less than fair value.”
While much of the mainstream media focused on the negative impact the tariffs were having on newspapers, and particularly on small and mid-sized newspaper publishers, book publishers were also dealing with higher costs. A number of book and newspaper manufacturing groups, including the Book Manufacturers’ Institute, banded together earlier this year to form Stop Tariffs on Printers Publishers (STOPP), an organization which lobbied to overturn the tariffs.
In commenting on the ITC’s action, Matt Baehr, executive director of BMI, called the decision an important victory for a range of American jobs. “BMI member companies and our colleagues in the STOPP coalition campaigned hard to protect American businesses—and American jobs,” Baehr said in a statement. “We’re relieved that the ruling body found no evidence of ‘dumping,’ and that the claims made by the North Pacific Paper Co. were unfounded.”
Baehr and others had told Congress that the overall decline in groundwood paper sales is the result of other market forces, such as the decline in the newspaper business and slowing-to-flat sales of print books, and not due to paper imported from Canada.