Catalyst Paper operates pulp and paper mills at Port Alberni, Duncan and Powell River, with headquarters in Richmond B.C. (Alberni Valley News)

Donald Trump’s trade war hurting B.C. pulp mills, U.S. newspapers

Shift to digital news, not B.C. paper price, causing U.S. newsprint decline

The U.S. government’s latest trade attack on the B.C. forest industry is not only threatening jobs in B.C.’s pulp and paper business, it’s pushing struggling U.S. newspapers to make further cuts.

B.C.-based Catalyst Paper is moving away from supplying U.S. newspapers and other customers due to continued border duties imposed at the request of a single pulp mill competitor in Washington state. The punitive duties, like those on B.C. lumber, have had their greatest impact on U.S. consumers of the product, as is the case with the latest U.S. border duties on softwood lumber that drive up costs for American builders.

David Chavern, CEO of the U.S. News Media Alliance, said the latest decision by the U.S. to continue duties of more than 20 per cent on B.C. newsprint and other uncoated paper is hurting the newspapers he represents. He notes that the International Trade Commission (ITC) can still reverse the duties in a vote expected Aug. 29.

“There is strong evidence before the ITC that it is the decades-long shift from print to digital – not pricing from Canada – that has financially challenged the U.S. newsprint industry,” Chavern said in a statement after the “final decision” to continue duties on all Canadian newsprint and book paper imports. “These taxes will simply force newspapers and printers to cut their use of newsprint, harming the U.S. paper industry the tariffs are intended to protect.”

RELATED: Catalyst Paper faces ‘punitive’ U.S. duties

RELATED: B.C. steps in to protect Catalyst pension plan

That has already happened since the preliminary duties took effect in January. The Tampa Bay Times pointed to higher newsprint costs when it laid off 50 employees in April and the Salt Lake Tribune also cited the Canadian duties in its latest layoffs.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, half of the jobs in the American news industry have gone between 2001 and 2016, while employment in internet publishing and web search portals has more than tripled.

Small local newspapers in the U.S. have felt the worst effects, National Newspaper Association president Andrew Johnson told the New York Times.

The U.S Commerce Department issued its final ruling on uncoated paper imports from Canada last week, lowering its preliminary anti-dumping and countervailing duties from more than 28 per cent to a combined 20.16 per cent. The action applies across Canada, including Catalyst operations at Crofton near Duncan and Powell River.

“While our mills have provided newsprint to the U.S. for more than 100 years, we’re now changing our customer base to minimize the impact of these duties because of one U.S. mill,” said Ned Dwyer, president of Catalyst. “This isn’t sustainable over the long term.”

Washington-based North Pacific Paper Co. launched the original trade complaint last year, without backing from any other U.S. pulp producer and over the objections of U.S. newspapers. U.S. paper makers have shifted their business away from newspaper supply in response to the long-term trend of the industry to print and distribute fewer paper copies.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross described the complaint by North Pacific Paper Co., owned by a New York hedge fund, as “a complicated and unique case.” The ruling also imposes duties on producers in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada as well, but at lower rate than B.C.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Community paramedic to teach free CPR lessons Sunday

Local event includes ambulance and fire truck tours, fire extinguisher lessons

Local runners get personal bests at Kelowna half marathon

Brian Nemethy on the dedication of one local runner

A handy guide to the local municipal elections in Vanderhoof and Fraser Lake

How and where to vote locally, plus links to candidate profiles

Ken Young is running for re-election to district council

Young wants to improve housing and economic diversification in the district

Singer k.d. lang receives Alberta’s highest honour

Celebrated singer-songwriter k.d. lang received the Alberta Order of Excellence in Edmonton

‘Mom, I’m in trouble:’ Canadian faces 10 years for alleged graffiti

Brittney Schneider, another tourist caught spraying message on walls of Tha Pae Gate in Thailand

Feds consulting on national anti-racism strategy behind closed doors

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says people still face systemic racism in some communities

Enbridge aims for mid-November to finish B.C. pipeline repair after blast

A natural gas pipeline that ruptured and burned near Prince George caused an explosion and fireball

How to get government cheques if Canada Post staff go on strike

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said members could go on rotating strikes as early as Monday

Anti-SOGI school trustee files defamation lawsuit against BCTF president

Barry Neufeld says Glen Hansman’s words caused him “indignity,” “personal harassment,” and “anxiety”

Ocean ‘blob’ returns to B.C.’s North Coast

A 2,000 kilometre patch of warm ocean water could signal a warm winter in Prince Rupert

Pot sales down by nearly 70% on Day 2 of legalization in B.C.

Several products on BC Cannabis Store are still sold out

Most Read