Crist Shares Newspaper Tariff Concerns with International Trade Commission

Press Release

Date: July 18, 2018
Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) submitted testimony to the United States International Trade Commission, which held a hearing yesterday on the negative impact new tariffs imposed by the Trump Administration will have on the newspaper industry. Crist recently introduced the bipartisan PRINT Act to block newspaper tariffs and joined fellow members of the Florida Congressional Delegation in calling on the U.S. Department of Commerce to prevent this harmful action.

"An unnecessary trade war with some of our closest partners is already having real, negative consequences for our economy and the newspaper industry in particular. The Tampa Bay Times recently announced 50 employees would be laid off due to new tariffs -- shrinking newsrooms at a time when thoughtful, credible reporting is needed most," said Crist when introducing the PRINT Act. "Newspapers are an integral part of our communities, employing our neighbors and keeping us informed. It's encouraging to see bipartisan and bicameral support for protecting local news."

The Tampa Bay Times -- Florida's largest newspaper serving the district Crist represents -- estimates the new tariffs will cost an additional $3 million annually, resulting in further lay-offs and higher costs for consumers.

Please find a copy of Crist's written testimony attached and below:

USITC Hearing - Uncoated Groundwood Paper from Canada
Testimony of United States Congressman Charlie Crist (FL-13)
July 17, 2018

I am deeply concerned with the pending antidumping and countervailing duty imposed on uncoated groundwood paper from Canada. The newspaper industry, the largest consumer of uncoated groundwood paper, relies upon this input to provide information to millions of Americans every day. For generations, people have turned to their local newspapers to stay informed on news and events, purchase a car or a home, and to find work opportunities. Local companies and small businesses also use newspapers to reach potential customers. A paper of record for my home of Pinellas County, Florida, the Tampa Bay Times, serves as a vital source of information for my constituents, helping to foster a feeling of community and informing us of the local issues impacting our lives that may not make national headlines.

Tariffs on Canadian paper are damaging the bottom lines of U.S. newspapers. In the face of paper tariffs of upwards of 32%, the drastically steep rise in the price of paper will make it harder for many to stay afloat.

Let me be clear: I agree with the Commerce Department's mission of improving our trade balances, including with Canada, and of increasing domestic manufacturing. However, an unnecessary trade war with some of our closest partners has real, negative consequences on our economy, and the newspaper industry in particular. The Tampa Bay Times recently announced that 50 employees were laid off due to the paper tariffs, a story familiar to many of my colleagues in Congress. Shrinking newsrooms at a time when thoughtful, credible reporting is needed most leaves us all worse off as a society. I joined bipartisan members from both the Senate and the House to introduce the PRINT ACT, blocking tariffs imposed on imported newsprint unless the Administration can show its actions will not hurt our domestic newspaper printing and publishing industry.

I respectfully ask that you take into account the vital importance of the newsprint industry and the damaging effects of these tariffs on both the economy and our access to information when making a final decision on paper tariffs. Thank you for your time and attention.