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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: 482902

Reported Deaths: 9425
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison33063488
Hinds31021589
DeSoto30610358
Jackson23687348
Rankin21340370
Lee14909220
Madison14166271
Jones13404227
Forrest13160240
Lauderdale11601305
Lowndes10443176
Lamar10214130
Pearl River9098221
Lafayette8241137
Hancock7514112
Washington7102150
Oktibbeha6964124
Monroe6514164
Neshoba6475201
Warren6464164
Pontotoc630393
Panola6250126
Marshall6126123
Bolivar6115144
Union574186
Pike5613136
Alcorn537290
Lincoln5303131
George471472
Scott459196
Leflore4476140
Prentiss446779
Tippah446480
Itawamba4444100
Adams4416116
Tate4394101
Simpson4335112
Wayne433066
Copiah431787
Yazoo423386
Covington415792
Sunflower4148104
Marion4099104
Leake397586
Coahoma3957100
Newton370875
Grenada3556104
Stone350860
Tishomingo336289
Attala325387
Jasper314162
Winston304691
Clay296473
Chickasaw287065
Clarke282190
Calhoun266141
Holmes262187
Smith250649
Yalobusha221047
Tallahatchie220450
Walthall211058
Greene209045
Lawrence206833
Perry199953
Amite198452
Webster196542
Noxubee178939
Montgomery172454
Jefferson Davis168342
Carroll162137
Tunica153334
Benton142535
Kemper138640
Choctaw127026
Claiborne126834
Humphreys126637
Franklin116728
Quitman103926
Wilkinson101936
Jefferson91333
Sharkey63020
Issaquena1926
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 789054

Reported Deaths: 14022
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1115991765
Mobile708511234
Madison49865633
Shelby36274315
Baldwin36242495
Tuscaloosa33931548
Montgomery33190678
Lee22680220
Calhoun21211410
Morgan19816335
Etowah19300462
Marshall17680274
Houston16823386
St. Clair15442305
Cullman14602258
Limestone14581188
Elmore14480264
Lauderdale13520281
Talladega12958236
DeKalb12199237
Walker10588330
Blount9720157
Autauga9667137
Jackson9385158
Coffee8882175
Dale8609173
Colbert8534184
Tallapoosa6673181
Escambia6591121
Covington6452167
Chilton6385144
Russell607255
Franklin5795101
Chambers5416134
Marion4800120
Dallas4705189
Clarke463279
Pike462397
Geneva4413117
Winston425895
Lawrence4117108
Bibb409381
Barbour347270
Marengo326285
Monroe320053
Butler318290
Randolph305956
Pickens305274
Henry301858
Hale292685
Cherokee289855
Fayette279673
Washington245448
Crenshaw238470
Cleburne235851
Clay228565
Macon220158
Lamar197743
Conecuh182046
Lowndes170758
Coosa170235
Wilcox159736
Bullock149243
Perry136537
Sumter124536
Greene121443
Choctaw73427
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