The price is lumber is expected to continue to rise, despite a 275 per cent increase since last April.
On May 21, the U.S. Commerce Department moved to increase preliminary tariffs on softwood lumber imports from Canada, which if approved, is expected to raise producer and consumer costs. Tariffs are currently set at 8.99 per cent, but they could increase to 18.32 per cent.
“We will keep challenging these unwarranted and damaging duties through all available avenues,” said Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, Mary Ng.
“We remain confident that a negotiated solution to this long-standing trade issue is not only possible but in the best interest of both of our countries.”
The proposed rates are subject to review over the next six months before duties are set in November.
“That will impact mills in British Columbia and Northern Ontario,” said Conservative leader Erin O’Toole in the House of Commons earlier this week. “Canadian resource workers are once again being threatened by the United States.”
“When are Canadians going to finally see this Prime Minister stand up for working Canadians?” rhetorically asked O’Toole.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump imposed a 20 per cent tariff on softwood lumber in 2018 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was later lowered to 8.99 per cent late last year after a decision from the World Trade Organization.
In response to O’Toole, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his Liberal government has continued to stand up for Canadian steelworkers, aluminum workers, forestry workers, dairy farmers and more over the last five years, noting working with the previous American administration, Donald Trump’s, had been ‘difficult’.
“Was really happy to see our leader press the Prime Minister on the mishandling of the softwood lumber file and the lack of support for forestry workers,” said Kenora MP Eric Melillo. “We need to be supporting our industries and our resources across northwestern Ontario to get back on track.”
Melillo also spoke about the need to support local industries in the House of Commons earlier this week, the need for a stronger reopening plan from the federal government, as well as the need to support seniors who are facing rising inflation costs and continued social isolation measures.
Canada’s Forest Economic Advisors have said they expect lumber prices to remain high throughout at least the fall of 2021, which the increase mostly attributed to high demand and ongoing supply issues.