The Trump administration is backing down on one of its tariffs, and it's a big win for the newspaper industry

  • The Trump administration said Thursday that it would reduce a tariff on newsprint from Canada.
  • The tariff hit the newspaper industry hard causing major cost spikes for many papers.
  • The tariff was originally imposed in January after a complaint from a US-based paper company.
  • The tariff could be further reduced after a hearing by the International Trade Commission in September.

The Trump administration gave the newspaper industry some welcome news on Thursday with the announcement that it would reduce tariffs on Canadian newsprint.

The Department of Commerce said Thursday that it would lower the tariff of up to 32% on imported uncoated groundwood paper, which is used for newspapers. The Commerce Department determined that major Canadian suppliers were not dumping product at discounted prices to the extent originally believed.

The new tariff will be a little under 17%, with certain Canadian suppliers paying more than others. Catalyst Paper will face a 20% tariff, while two other producers will get hit with 10% tariffs. Smaller producers could get hit with tariffs as low as 1%.

The newsprint tariff was originally imposed in January after a Washington state-based newsprint supplier, The North Pacific Paper or Norpac, submitted a complaint to the Department of Commerce.

After the tariff went into effect, many smaller newspapers around the country struggled to handle the increased costs, leading to layoffs and page-count reductions. Newspaper industry groups lobbied Congress and the administration to back off the tariffs, arguing that the measures did more harm than good.

For instance, the Tampa Bay Times announced a series of layoffs that the paper said were a direct result of the higher costs from newsprint tariffs.

According to the Commerce Department, the US imported $US1.27 billion worth of Canadian newsprint in 2016.

The tariff could be reduced even further when the US International Trade Commission holds a hearing on the measure on September 17.

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