Chinese Paper Tariffs Rankle U.S. Printers —Michelson

There is also fear that, due to the U.S. government’s decision, higher prices resulting from a reduction in the coated free sheet supply chain will be passed along to printers’ customers who, in turn, may look overseas to now even more price-competitive Asian print providers. What kind of irony is that? (Also be sure to check out two articles appearing in this issue that discuss China’s impact on our domestic book printing market, as well as the emphasis the Chinese higher education system has placed on the graphic arts.) Likewise, some argue that the import tariffs will give Canadian printers competing in the U.S. market an unfair advantage because they will still be able to purchase Chinese coated free sheet paper at reduced prices. And, to add insult to injury, the governmental action comes on the heels of the latest postal rate case, which already has catalogers and publishers grappling with large postage increases.

Interestingly, other paper manufacturers have remained largely mum on the NewPage petition and resulting DOC decision, even though several will likely benefit from the import duties imposed on lower-cost Chinese providers. I guess they’re being mindful not to anger any existing or potential customers that had been sourcing paper from overseas.

It makes you wonder, too, why the current administration would choose high-quality imported Chinese paper as the test case for instituting import tariffs against non-market economy countries, changing a governmental policy that dates back to the 1980s. However, given America’s reported $232.5 billion trade deficit with China, some analysts predict import duties might ensue on other Chinese products, if these paper tariffs make it through Chinese appeals in U.S. courts and at the World Trade Organization. The printing industry is already facing enough challenges without being at the center of a potential trade war between the United States and China.

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