Letter from the publisher: High tariffs affecting newsprint prices

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 1, 2018

By Greg Anderson

You have probably read about or heard about the recent tariffs on imported aluminum and steel. Many folks I’ve talked to have not heard about tariffs placed on paper (newsprint) imported from Canada. It was last month the U.S. government placed these extremely high tariffs on Canadian imported newsprint.

U.S. newsprint manufacturers responded with price increases to match. The Salisbury Post will pay 30 percent more for the paper we use and prices are expected to continue to rise. The Salisbury Post will pay nearly $200,000 more for newsprint annually.

Why did this happen? Only one U.S. newsprint manufacturer complained. But in this political environment, that complaint was met with a friendly ear. North Pacific Paper Co., or NORPAC, complained to the U.S. Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission that Canadian producers were violating trade laws by receiving government loan assistance and harvesting trees on government land — advantages that allowed them to sell paper in the United States cheaper than American mills could. No other paper manufacturers have complained.

Adding to the difficulty of this situation is the fact that U.S. manufacturers, who we buy from, shut down some mills last year to reduce supply, in order to drive up prices. Demand was down 11 percent, the mills reduced supply by 18 percent. Combine that with the tariffs and there is no reasonable end in sight for price increases.

Local newspapers remain important assets to communities. No other media covers in-depth local news like we do. It is a difficult business though and it just became harder. Newspapers will have to examine every expense and raise some prices.

We will challenge these tariffs along with just about every other American newspaper. It will take some time.

We would appreciate your help too.  The most effective way to help take a stand for community newspapers is to contact your member of Congress.  Here in Rowan County, they are:

Sen. Richard Burr

• 217 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510. Phone: 202-224-3154

Sen. Thom Tillis

• 185 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510. Phone: 202-224-6342

Rep. Richard Hudson

• 429 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515. Phone: 202-225-3715

Rep. Ted Budd

• 118 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515. Phone: 202-225-4531

Thank you and I will keep you updated.