ADF Group lays off 50 employees after losing U.S. bids amid tariff tensions

TERREBONE, Que. — ADF Group Inc. said Tuesday it has temporarily laid off 50 employees after losing out on major project bids in the United States during the height of tariff tensions.

The move shows that uncertainty on trade policies with the U.S. is having an effect on Canada’s manufacturing industry, said Dennis Darby, CEO of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters.

“It can’t be overstated that uncertainty with the U.S. about our trading relationship with our biggest trading partner is causing companies to rethink investment. The ADF Group is one of those decisions that companies are making every day.”

Most companies won’t be making public if they’ve lost out on contracts or seen other impacts from the U.S. trade uncertainty, but many are holding back or being more hesitant on spending decisions until there’s more certainty, said Darby.

“Do I expand my production in Canada, do I invest my next dollar of capital in the U.S., do I wait and see where it all ends? We’ve been hearing that from our members across the country.”

There’s been a cloud of uncertainty for manufacturers and exports throughout the renegotiations of NAFTA, which was then heightened when U.S. President Donald Trump said in early March that he would impose tariffs on all steel and aluminum imports.

Trump has since walked back those positions, first allowing temporary exemptions for Canada and Mexico, followed by exemptions for the European Union, South Korea, Argentina, Australia and Brazil.

ADF Group, however, said it lost its bids on major U.S. projects before the U.S. government announced that Canada would be exempted from the tariffs.

Even with the temporary tariff exemption in place, there will continue to be business disruptions while NAFTA is being resolved, said Peter Warrian, a senior research fellow at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.

“Even though we’ve got this temporary exemption, until the NAFTA deal is finalized you’ve got an uncertain environment, so how do you make order decisions? How do you make investment decisions?”

He said he wasn’t surprised to hear the ADF Group news given the uncertainty, and that China’s potential responses to tariffs and steel restrictions will mean more uncertainty going forward.

ADF Group, however, said it’s working on several more bids, including for large-scale projects in the U.S. The company said it will be able to recall employees targeted by the temporary layoff as new contracts are signed.

The company manufactures a range of steel products from I-beams to large complex structures. It has two fabrication plants and two paint shops, in Canada and in the United States, along with a construction division in the U.S.

Just Posted

The Latest: UK leader congratulates royals on birth of son

LONDON — The Latest on the royal baby birth: 1:50 p.m. British… Continue reading

Key events in the life of William, Kate and their family

LONDON — The Duchess of Cambridge gave birth Monday to a baby… Continue reading

Broncos families surprised obituaries are on website selling services

Some families of Humboldt Broncos bus crash victims are surprised to learn… Continue reading

‘It’s limitless:’ Paralyzed toddler moves from homemade wheelchair to treadmill

EDMONTON — Evelyn Moore sings the alphabet song as her tiny running… Continue reading

Shania Twain apologizes for saying she would have voted for Donald Trump

Shania Twain is apologizing after telling a British newspaper that she would… Continue reading

Replay Red Deer April 22, 2018

Watch weekly news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Crosby, Penguins keep 3rd straight championship in sight

PHILADELPHIA — Sidney Crosby tormented the Flyers just as he has from… Continue reading

29-year-old chef dies after collapsing at London Marathon

London Marathon organizers say a 29-year-old man died after collapsing near the… Continue reading

Greece beats budget target as it looks to post-bailout era

ATHENS, Greece — Greece has beaten its budget targets for a third… Continue reading

Etiquette and protocol highlights for royal wedding guests

NEW YORK — Grab those nude stockings, ladies. You’ll be at a… Continue reading

Federal environment minister defends BP Canada’s plans to drill in N.S.

HALIFAX — Federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna is defending… Continue reading

Facebook’s privacy changes look different for Europeans and Americans

All 2.2 billion people who use Facebook will soon see changes to… Continue reading

Vermont wants to turn tourists into workers

Vermont has forest trails, yoga retreats, breweries galore – and a labor… Continue reading

Trump leading on North Korea, says envoy to Canada as G7 ministers meet

TORONTO — Donald Trump’s envoy to Canada says her president is leading… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month