Trump's Tariffs Are Making Things Even Worse for U.S. Newspapers

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(Bloomberg) -- As if things didn’t look bleak enough for newspapers, a Canada-U.S. trade spat is adding to their costs.

Newsprint prices have jumped to the highest in five years, after President Donald Trump’s administration imposed duties on imported paper from Canada. The world’s largest newsprint maker, Montreal-based Resolute Forest Products Inc., said Thursday the duties are pushing up prices and putting a squeeze on demand, which is already declining.

“We don’t see that as good news,” Chief Executive Officer Yves Laflamme said on his company’s first-quarter earnings conference call.

“It’s definitely a concern about how it’s going to accelerate the decrease" in demand for paper, he said. Industry demand is dropping by more than 10 percent annually, according to Resolute.

Canadian paper imports account for about three-quarters of what gets used in U.S., from the Wall Street Journal to local newspapers. The duties will force job cuts at newspapers, commercial printers, book publishers and throughout the whole supply chain, according to an industry coalition representing more than 600,000 workers.

The Tampa Bay Times last month cut about 50 jobs, blaming the tariffs and the rising cost of newsprint, the Tampa Bay Business Journal reported.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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