Editorial: Harleys, milk, and newspapers hurt by tariffs

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Harley-Davidson motorcycles are the quintessential “Made in America” product. Maybe not for long.

As a result of the Trump administration’s tariffs on many foreign goods, Europe is placing retaliatory tariffs on American products. Europeans who love the American muscle motorbikes would have had to pay much more to own one — and that’s why the company is promising to move some production overseas. The labels on Harleys sold in Europe no longer will say, “Made in the USA.”

On this side of the Atlantic, the trade war that our Washington administration is waging with Canada could result in such high tariffs on U.S. dairy products that farmers no longer will be able to export their milk, or cheesemakers their cheese. And as farmers know, “you can’t turn off the cows.” Milk could end up poured on the ground, with profits nonexistent.

Newspapers are another victim of the trade wars. Beginning in January, ever-increasing tariffs have been levied on newsprint from several Canadian mills. For some news outlets, the price of paper has gone up 30 percent. If the tariffs remain in place, publications already hammered by internet advertising and the demise of their brick-and-mortar store advertisers will be forced to cut costs drastically.

Such cutbacks likely will mean layoffs of editors and reporters, fewer or smaller pages in each print edition, increases in subscription prices, and inevitably, the closure of some struggling small-town daily papers. It’s not only smaller papers that are affected, either. The Tampa Bay Times in Florida announced the layoff of 50 staffers in response to the Trump tariffs.

Fortunately, The Taos News is in a community full of robust local advertisers. As a weekly, it uses much less paper than its counterparts.

But communities all over America will suffer. Advertising on newspaper’s websites can’t make up for losses in the printed product. Economically, our publications depend on print advertising, subscription and single-copy sales to support their newsrooms.

Higher cost of newsprint will mean less news in most communities, and some towns will become “news deserts” when their newspaper closes.

Please help the publishing industry by signing a petition to the International Trade Commission in Washington, urging that body to rescind newsprint tariffs.

The petition is available at stopnewsprinttariffs.org/join-the-fight-to-protect-u-s-jobs.

The newspaper trade association hopes to collect 10,000 petitions in time for a July 17 hearing before the trade commission.

Please help us to preserve news in America—and American democracy.

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