Lumber duty could hurt western producers

Softwood lumber producers in Central Canada will be hardest hit by a new U.S. duty on Canadian exports and some believe western producers could be next as the government seeks new ways to generate cash in the sector.

Softwood lumber producers in Central Canada will be hardest hit by a new U.S. duty on Canadian exports and some believe western producers could be next as the government seeks new ways to generate cash in the sector.

With the United States set to slap a 10 per cent duty on Canadian imports of softwood lumber next week from four provinces — Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan — industry players believe the British Columbia and Alberta could be penalized next.

NDP critic Peter Julian said the anti-circumvention clause in the Canada-U.S. softwood lumber agreement provides ammunition for the United States.

“Although it hasn’t been formally filed yet, it’s a matter of time,” said Julian, whose party opposed the deal signed in late 2006.

In particular, he said stumpage rates in B.C. could be a target and the penalty could be in the “hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Rick Jeffery, president and CEO of Coast Forest Products Association, said the American lumber industry has been pointing to the B.C. stumpage system for years as a source of subsidy, something that is not allowed in the softwood deal.

He agreed the recent tax ruling “creates an incentive” for the U.S. government to launch more ligitation, even though stumpage fees are supposed to be covered in the deal.

In Moncton, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the federal government has offered several ways of resolving the dispute with the Americans, and he’s disappointed the U.S. went ahead with the duty before Ottawa could get an international tribunal decision clarified.

“We should be clear that the tribunal did rule, that Canada is in violation of the (softwood) agreement, we are not disputing that,” Harper told a news conference.

“What’s at issue is what is the appropriate remedy, the appropriate penalty.”

Chris McIver, vice-president of lumber sales at Vancouver-based West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd (TSX:WFT), said while he hasn’t heard or seen anything that says there is another challenge pending, the Americans “continue to look for opportunities.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if they would look at anything that would generate a penalty,” said McIver.

John Allan, of the Canadian Lumber Trade Alliance, said the United States has complained in the past about timber pricing policies in B.C. and Alberta, but taken no official action.

Just Posted

Number of seniors who play bridge in Red Deer growing

Red Deer Bridge Club has been around for close to 60 years

PHOTOS: Buccaneers battle Wolfpack in AFL semifinal

The Central Alberta Buccaneers battled the Calgary Wolfpack in the Alberta Football… Continue reading

Raising awareness for Bikers Against Child Abuse

Second annual Raise A Ruckus Against Child Abuse was held at the Red Deer Radisson Hotel Saturday

Central Alberta Yogathon cancelled Saturday

Due to air quality concerns the fourth annual event will take place Sept. 15

City Hall Park construction begins next week

Construction to update Red Deer’s City Hall Park is set to begin… Continue reading

WATCH: Medicine River Wildlife Centre opens new playground

The grand opening of the playground was Saturday morning

Canadians fear for relatives trapped amid flooding in Indian state of Kerala

In the wake of deadly flooding in the Indian state of Kerala,… Continue reading

Indonesia’s Lombok island jolted by multiple quakes

SEMBALUN, Indonesia — Strong earthquakes jolted the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok… Continue reading

Afghan president calls for Eid cease-fire, Taliban to reply

KABUL — Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has called for a conditional cease-fire… Continue reading

Montreal may have less influence after October provincial election

MONTREAL — When Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader Francois Legault recently dismissed the… Continue reading

Privacy issue with online pot sales after legalization needs watching: experts

TORONTO — Buyers who have to provide personal information to purchase recreational… Continue reading

Range of reactions to possible holiday to mark legacy of residential schools

The federal government’s intention to enact a statutory holiday aimed at remembering… Continue reading

Wildfire smoke from B.C. gets in the way of mountain scenery for tourists

JASPER, Alta. — Smoke from wildfires that’s blanketing parts of Alberta does… Continue reading

Fast food chains look to capitalize on vegetarian, vegan trend with new items

The once meat-dominated world of fast-food and casual restaurants is starting to… 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