GREENVILLE — In an industry already hampered by a partial transition of print to digital media, recent tariffs on paper for newsprint has caused a new financial headache for publishers across the country.

Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Midland, left, observes as Stafford Media Vice President of Sales John Moy explains how machinery works to print one of 140 different publications at the company’s Greenville print facility during a tour Monday. — Daily News/Cory Smith

The Daily News and its parent company, Greenville’s Stafford Media, are no exception to this new increase in cost.

In January, the U.S. Commerce Department, following the instruction of President Donald Trump, imposed a tariff of 6.2 percent on Canadian newsprint, which was followed by an additional increase of 22 percent in March.

The tariff came as a result of One Rock Capital Partners, a New York private equity firm that bought a paper mill in Longview, Washington, after it petitioned Trump’s Commerce Department for tariffs against Canadian paper.

Rep. John Moolenaar receives a tour of the printing facility as Stafford Media President Rob Stafford, left, and Stafford Media Vice President of Sales John Moy, right, explain details of a new tariff that has increased paper costs for the company.

As Canada produces about 60 percent of all newsprint used by newspapers in America, the tariffs created a substantial increase in newsprint prices of about 30 percent for newspapers in the country.

“Companies like ours rely on imported newsprint because there are not enough paper mills in the United States to be able to meet the demand of those industries that use various forms of paper,” Daily News Publisher Julie Stafford said. “This particular tariff was implemented without much hoopla, certainly not to the level received by the aluminum tariff. What we’re finding out through conversations with our leaders from all states in Washington, D.C., is that many aren’t even aware of what it entails or that it was put into place.”

According to Stafford, in the month of May, Stafford Media faced additional costs of approximately $2,200 per truckload of paper that were delivered to the company’s print facility at 1005 E. Fairplains St. If this tariff remains in place, she said it would equate to about $396,000 more in expenses per year.

Rep. John Moolenaar toured the Stafford Media printing facility in Greenville on Monday to receive an up-close look of employees in action as concerns rise across the country at newsprint companies over increased costs as a result of a new tariff against Canadian-imported paper.

In response to the tariff and additional costs, Stafford reached out to U.S. Congressman John Moolenaar, R-Midland, who represents Montcalm County, inviting him to tour the Fairplains Street facility on Monday with a hope he could provide a louder voice in Washington.

Moolenaar was one of 34 members of the U.S. House of Representatives to sign a letter last December to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, requesting sanctions on uncoated groundwood paper imported from Canada not be put into place; however, that request was denied as the tariff was eventually implemented.

“What I know about Congressman Moolenaar is that he is truly interested in how decisions in Washington are affecting the people and businesses in his district,” Stafford said. “He literally carved time out of his schedule to make this visit happen within just a few short days. My goal in having him visit Stafford Printing was to show him the enormous impact this tariff is having on our commercial printing business and, in turn, on our customers who are based throughout Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. Conceivably it could threaten the viability of our entire industry, which plays a primary role in keeping readers informed on what is happening in their area.”

Daily News Publisher Julie Stafford and Rep. John Moolenaar discuss the implications a recent tariff on Canadian newsprint has had on expenses for newspapers in the United States during a tour of the Stafford Media printing facility in Greenville on Monday.

Moolenaar said by visiting the print facility and interacting with Stafford employees, he now has a local narrative he plans to share in Washington.

“Hearing firsthand, and seeing firsthand, is very helpful. To see the volume of paper that is used, the workforce that is here, that’s really important for me to understand the issue in a real-life way. It helps me to be a better advocate,” he said. “This week, going back to Washington, this gives me an important story to tell on how these policies affect real people in my own district. I’m going to be carrying that message to the administration and I’ll have an opportunity to reach out to Secretary Ross on the impact of these tariffs.”

Stafford is hopeful Moolenaar can help to showcase the negative impact the tariff is having on newspapers throughout the country and has asked him to consider lending his voice to testimony being heard before the International Trade Commission in Washington D.C. on July 17.

“Our hope is that by giving the congressman a first-hand look at our facility with rolls of paper stacked high — each now with an added cost — and our more than 100 employees who are involved in doing what we do, that he will then be able to shine a spotlight on this particular tariff and help decision makers in Washington understand the huge negative impact it is having,” Stafford said.

In addition to the hearing, a bipartisan group of 17 U.S. senators have joined together in co-sponsoring a bill — the Protecting Rational Incentives in Newsprint Trade Act of 2018 (PRINT Act) — which would suspend the tariffs until a study assessing their impact on the publishing industry can be completed.

From left, Daily News Publisher Julie Stafford, Rep. John Moolenaar, Stafford Media Vice President of Sales John Moy and Stafford Media President Rob Stafford collaborate during a tour of the Stafford Media printing facility in Greenville on Monday. Moolenaar was invited by Julie Stafford to receive an up-close look as paper costs have risen due to a recent tariff implementation against Canadian paper

Moolenaar described the situation as “a challenge in the midst of negotiations” regarding trade at a global level with multiple partners.

“With discussion of tariffs and trade agreements, everything is on the table right now. I just want to make sure our voice, here in Michigan, is heard, and raise this issue to the highest level I can to be a part of discussions and negotiations going forward,” he said. “Paper has been a vital part of our economy in Michigan. We don’t have paper mills like we used to, but we want to keep this supply chain vibrant, and the jobs that go along with that in Michigan. That’s my goal, and that’s what I’m going to be working toward.”

Rob Stafford, who oversees Stafford Media’s commercial print operation, said after visiting with Moolenaar, he felt the congressman would go forward with good intentions in working to potentially have the tariff repealed.

“We appreciate Congressman Moolenaar taking time out of his busy schedule to learn more about the negative impact of newsprint tariff’s not only on our business but on publishers and printers across American,” he said. “We’re confident he will represent us well during the upcoming July hearings on this critical issue.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.
(616) 548-8277

Source link

If you are looking to make money from running your own business at home, visit the links below.

Computers and Software Buyers Guide

Compare Computers and Laptops

Mobile Phones Buyers Guide

Compare Mobile Phones