Trump administration slaps tariffs on Canadian paper

President Trump's trade team is getting tougher on Canada.In a decision opposed by some Republicans, the Comme...

Posted: Jan 10, 2018 3:32 PM
Updated: Jan 10, 2018 3:32 PM

President Trump's trade team is getting tougher on Canada.

In a decision opposed by some Republicans, the Commerce Department late Tuesday applied tariffs as high as 10% to Canadian paper. This follows American tariffs of up to 18% on Canadian lumber, imposed last year.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says Canadian paper companies get subsidies from their national government and it's unfair to American competitors. In 2016, imports of Canadian paper totaled $1.3 billion.

The timing of the move is sensitive. Leaders from the United States, Canada and Mexico start the next round of talks on NAFTA, the three-nation trade pact, on January 23 in Montreal. Five rounds of talks have yielded no progress on divisive issues such as car manufacturing.

Trump made NAFTA a punching bag during his 2016 campaign. He promised to renegotiate it and bring jobs back from Mexico or withdraw from the 24-year-old agreement.

Related: U.S. and South Korea go head-to-head on trade

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland called the U.S. action "unfair and unwarranted," and said the paper tariffs will cost American jobs.

U.S. congressional leaders had voiced strong opposition to any duties against Canadian paper, which they argue helps support 600,000 American jobs in newspaper publishing and commercial printing.

Eight senators, including Republicans Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins, urged Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to look closely at how the tariffs could affect "hundreds of thousands of Americans jobs." Seven Republicans signed the letter along with Senator Angus King, an independent from Maine.

Related: Remittances to Mexico on pace to reach all-time high

What's unusual about the paper tariff is that one small company in Washington state, Northern Pacific Paper, pushed for it. It employs 260 workers at its mill and is owned by the New York hedge fund One Rock Capital, which did not respond to CNNMoney's request for comment.

Resolute, a Canadian company that employs 2,500 Americans and will be hit by both the lumber and paper tariffs, called the Trump administration's decision "outrageous."

"This is an effort to perversely manipulate trade laws," Seth Kursman, Resolute's spokesman told CNNMoney on Wednesday.

Resolute has headquarters in Montreal and also employs 5,500 Canadians. Kursman would not speculate whether the tariffs would cost the company jobs. Other Canadian companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Related: U.S. trade deficit with China and Mexico is growing

According to Resolute, 90% of the newsprint in the American Northeast and Midwest -- the paper that newspapers are printed on -- is supplied by companies in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

The company argues that the tariffs won't translate into more business for Northern Pacific but will only hasten companies' transition to digital.

The Mississippi Press Association, which represents small- and medium-sized newspapers, warned one of its home state senators, Republican Thad Cochran, about the tariffs.

In a December letter, the association's members said that the tariffs would "have a severe, negative impact on the newspaper industry, and ironically, threaten more jobs in the U.S. than the jobs the petitions claim to protect."

Cochran did not sign the letter that Republican senators sent to Ross at the Commerce Department. His office did not immediately answer questions from CNNMoney.

--CNN's Paula Newton contributed to this report.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 314710

Reported Deaths: 7254
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21646260
Hinds20369416
Harrison17949309
Rankin13643278
Jackson13450246
Madison10113217
Lee9986174
Jones8384163
Forrest7689152
Lauderdale7198240
Lowndes6403148
Lamar623686
Lafayette6203119
Washington5341134
Bolivar4802132
Oktibbeha462998
Panola4596107
Pearl River4519146
Marshall4450103
Warren4393121
Pontotoc420872
Monroe4115133
Union411176
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3969110
Hancock379586
Leflore3498125
Sunflower336290
Tate334784
Pike3327105
Scott316274
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311770
Itawamba300577
Copiah297465
Coahoma295579
Simpson295388
Tippah288768
Adams286982
Prentiss280060
Marion269380
Leake268473
Wayne262841
Grenada261587
Covington259881
George248148
Newton246862
Winston227581
Tishomingo227067
Jasper221148
Attala214473
Chickasaw208057
Holmes189174
Clay185554
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178941
Clarke178080
Calhoun170932
Yalobusha164638
Smith162534
Walthall134245
Greene130633
Lawrence128724
Montgomery127142
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton100025
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83923
Quitman81116
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67531
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 537813

Reported Deaths: 11024
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson791691529
Mobile41177808
Madison35002507
Tuscaloosa25871454
Shelby25076249
Montgomery24549591
Baldwin21290309
Lee15946171
Calhoun14556319
Morgan14364280
Etowah13890353
Marshall12262223
Houston10602282
Elmore10115206
Limestone10031151
St. Clair9890245
Cullman9730194
Lauderdale9449243
DeKalb8853188
Talladega8325176
Walker7259277
Autauga6971108
Jackson6830112
Blount6750139
Colbert6317134
Coffee5546119
Dale4869113
Russell444338
Chilton4343113
Franklin426282
Covington4138118
Tallapoosa4040152
Escambia394577
Chambers3581123
Dallas3564153
Clarke351361
Marion3137101
Pike311977
Lawrence302298
Winston275673
Bibb263064
Geneva252577
Marengo249664
Pickens234862
Barbour231956
Hale223677
Butler217869
Fayette212462
Henry189644
Cherokee184345
Randolph182042
Monroe178140
Washington167639
Macon160750
Clay156957
Crenshaw153357
Cleburne149241
Lamar143035
Lowndes139653
Wilcox127430
Bullock123041
Conecuh110629
Coosa108928
Perry107826
Sumter104932
Greene92634
Choctaw61024
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