U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper

WASHINGTON, DC — Testifying to the U.S. International Trade Commission this morning, U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05) denounced the Commerce Department’s tariff on a chief component of newsprint, citing the immense financial burden for local and national media organizations that rely on the printed page.

“The damage this tariff will do to the newspaper and printing industries will be catastrophic,” Rep. Cooper said in remarks submitted for the record. “Less news will lead to an increasingly distant and ill-informed American citizen.”

Newsprint is the paper on which newspapers and retail inserts are printed, and uncoated groundwood paper is a key component of the final product. The U.S. imported more than $1 billion of uncoated groundwood paper in 2016.

Canada produces about 60 percent of all newsprint paper in the world; just five U.S. paper mills produce such paper. So American newspapers and printing companies rely on Canada for much of their newsprint.

First announced in January and increased in March, the tariffs have affected newspapers large and small. Tennessee newspapers are delivered to more than 1 million households each week.

Supplementing Rep. Cooper’s testimony, three Tennessee newspapers – The Manchester Times, The Tullahoma News and Morristown’s Citizen Tribune – submitted letters for the record, stating the negative effects of the tariff.

The Tennessean recently editorialized on the tariff, imploring the Commerce Department to stop the “job-killing tax on newspapers.”

The tariffs are not permanent, and Rep. Cooper hopes his testimony will hasten their stoppage.