“It’s blatant protectionism”
That’s the verdict from BC Lumber Trade Council President Susan Yurkovich after finding out the United States doubled its tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber products.
The new rate will be 17.9%, eclipsing the current mark of 8.99%
Yurkovich told Vista Radio the forest sector is facing its fair share of uncertainty.
“We’ve got new legislation, which you know allows tenures to be taken back, we have the deferrals (old growth) and now we have 20% duties. There’s a lot of headwinds facing the industry.”
“When our sector is facing uncertainty and a lot of headwinds it has impacts across our entire province and many families and communities that are dependent on our sector unfortunately are going to be hurt if we continue to have this level of uncertainty in our industry.”
Yurkovich stated it’s not immediately known if this will lead to more curtailment or shutdowns at northern sawmills at this point.
However, she did state it won’t be just Canadians who are going to suffer from the rate hike.
“What’s really incredible is that consumers in the US have consistently borne the brunt of this protectionist policy. It’s hard to understand why this is allowed to continue but it is and they use their trade laws very effectively.”
“It’s just blatant protectionism. They want to make our products more expensive and those duties eventually work into the pricing of lumber and so it pushes the prices up artificially high and allows them to reap additional gains,” added Yurkovich.
Yurkovich also hinted it will take more than the Biden administration to fix this long-standing issue between the two countries.
“The US government can’t bind the industry. The industry in the US has to be at the table and to this point, they have not been willing to come and work towards the solution. It’s really unfortunate given we are creating low-carbon products the world wants and American families need.”
Yesterday (Thursday), Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland told the media Canada is prepared to retaliate against an American increase of duties on softwood lumber producers.