As newspapers struggle, McCaskill hopes to suspend paper tariffs

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill announced on Tuesday that she’s backing a bipartisan push to halt excessive taxes on paper imports that are critical to Missouri’s newspaper and printing industries.

According to McCaskill, the bipartisan legislation, which has been endorsed by printers and publishers representing more than 600,000 American jobs, would suspend the import taxes on uncoated groundwood paper while the Department of Commerce examines the health of the printing and publishing industry.

“Newspapers are already struggling to stay in business with the changing economy—and the last thing they need are added costs that were imposed based on what appears to be the request of a single mill owned by a venture-capital firm that’s looking to increase their profits on the backs of newspaper companies across the country,” McCaskill said in a written statement.

In 2017, the Department of Commerce started an anti-dumping duty investigations into the Canadian groundwood paper industry on behalf of a single domestic paper mill.

This specific paper is used by book publishers, newspapers and other commercial printers in the United States.

According to the senator, the import taxes are as high as 32 percent on some products, and that cost is passed onto printers, publishers and newspapers that are already under heavy economic stress.

Nearly all of the U.S. paper industry opposes these import taxes, including the large trade association representing the entire industry, the American Forest and Paper Association, because according to McCaskill, the Department of Commerce’s action threatens to decimate the paper industry’s customers and injure printers and publishers.

“Local news, and newspapers that provide it, are critical pieces of a community and our democracy—they pay attention to what’s going on, hold those in authority accountable, and tell the important stories of folks making a difference in the community,” she said.

On Thursday, McCaskill’s office sent response regarding a letter from a bipartisan group of sixteen Missouri senators expressing concerns over the Trump Administration’s decision to impose tariffs on manufacturing and agriculture imports, and the drastic effects a potential trade war may have in Missouri.

McCaskill said the tariffs could decimate the state’s businesses and upend its economy.

“These potential retaliatory actions, if implemented, could upend Missouri’s economy and cause serious harm to families in our state,” she said in the letter. “Given the serious consequences a potential trade war would have on Missouri, I have taken every opportunity to encourage the administration to reverse these actions.”

McCaskill earlier this month, also advocated on behalf of Missouri small businesses facing large financial burdens from the tariffs by calling on the Trump Administration to help small businesses navigate the tariff exemption process to give them more transparency. 

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