News Releases

Friday, January 5, 2018

Isakson Fights for Georgia, U.S. Jobs

Efforts would aid small-town newspaper, print industries

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., led a bipartisan coalition of senators yesterday in urging the administration to exercise caution in its pursuit of a pending trade investigation involving imported newsprint and other commercial printing papers used by small-town newspapers in Georgia and around the country.

Specifically, the administration is reviewing a petition by one manufacturer claiming that Canadian producers of the uncoated groundwood paper primarily used for newsprint, book publishing and by the printing industry are receiving unfair trade subsidies. In a letter to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the senators argue that trade sanctions could hurt American manufacturers of groundwood paper, American printers and their employees, posing a threat to nearly 1,000 jobs in Georgia and 600,000 jobs in the publishing and commercial printing sector nationwide, especially in rural areas.

“As you investigate this issue, we urge you to consider the potential negative impact that any trade remedy would have on the U.S. newspaper and commercial printing industries, as well as the overall U.S. paper manufacturing industry,” the letter reads.

The letter highlights that the majority of U.S. newsprint manufacturers, the national trade association for the U.S. forest and paper industry, and their major U.S. customers, oppose this petition and changes to current practices.

The digital media shift has already reduced demand for newsprint by more than 75 percent since the year 2000.

The letter continues, “Notwithstanding the decline in demand, people in small towns all over America still depend on their local newspapers. These petitions threaten to put those newspapers out of business and cut off rural and small-town America from their local news as well as from marketing opportunities that are vital to economic growth in these communities.” 

In conclusion, the letter states, “It is market erosion, not unfair trade, causing today’s competitive turmoil and job losses in the newsprint and commercial printing sectors.” The senators caution the U.S. Department of Commerce to “fairly assess the potential impacts any punitive duties on uncoated groundwood paper could have on hundreds of thousands of American jobs and the local news lifeline for rural small towns.”

In addition to Isakson, the bipartisan letter was signed by U.S. Senators Shelly Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Deb Fischer, R-Neb., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Angus King, I-Maine, Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, and Roger Wicker, R-Miss.

The entire text of the letter can be read here.