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WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján, Steve Pearce and Michelle Lujan Grisham urged Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross not to approve additional tariffs on newsprint, which could devastate local papers across New Mexico.

In January, the Commerce Department imposed import duties on Canadian groundwood paper, a kind of newsprint used by newspapers across the country, and are now considering additional tariffs. According to the lawmakers and thousands of newspapers nationwide — including eight in New Mexico — the tariffs are dramatically increasing paper prices and additional cost increases would be unsustainable for many papers, especially small, local newspapers, and force some to shut down amid other ongoing financial pressures in the newspaper industry.

"The newspaper industry is facing duties on Canadian newsprint and changes to the cost of shipping, which could be catastrophic for publishers in the southwest. These changes will result in nationwide increases in newsprint prices," the lawmakers wrote. "We urge you to use your discretion to revisit the domestic industry's support of this petition and consider the adverse impact to domestic manufacturers and publishers before proceeding with these investigations."

Full text of the letter is available here and below:

The Honorable Wilbur Ross
Secretary of Commerce
United States Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20230

Dear Secretary Ross,

We write to share our concerns and the concerns of constituents in our state over investigations into the import of uncoated groundwood paper from Canada. We urge you to fully consider domestic businesses and the potential impacts changes to the importation of uncoated groundwood paper would have on newsprint customers before proceeding with these investigations.

In December, alongside over one thousand newspapers in cities and towns across the country, eight local New Mexico newspapers wrote to you asking that the U.S. Department of Commerce, "heavily scrutinize the antidumping and countervailing duty petitions filed by North Pacific Paper Company (NORPAC)," and that imposition of duties on groundwood paper, "would have a very severe impact on our industry and many communities across the United States."

The newspaper industry is facing duties on Canadian newsprint and changes to the cost of shipping, which could be catastrophic for publishers in the southwest. These changes will result in nationwide increases in newsprint prices. The countervailing duties announced in January of 4.4-9.9% and potential of further dumping penalties will add to the cost of publication and freight. Duties substantially increase the cost of newsprint and domestic mills are estimated to produce only a fraction of the total number of tons used by U.S. publishers.

Again, we urge you to use your discretion to revisit the domestic industry's support of this petition and consider the adverse impact to domestic manufacturers and publishers before proceeding with these investigations.

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