Lakes District News file photo The anti-dumping duty recently announced by the U.S. is on top of the previously announced countervailing duty of 19.88 per cent, for a total rate of 26.75 per cent.

No layoffs expected in Burns Lake area sawmills

The U.S. has imposed a second wave of duties on Canadian lumber

Recently the U.S. Department of Commerce announced preliminary anti-dumping duties of 6.87 per cent to be applied to the majority of Canadian softwood lumber shipments entering the U.S.

The anti-dumping duty is on top of the previously announced preliminary countervailing duty of 19.88 per cent, for a total rate of 26.75 per cent.

Steve Zika, CEO of Hampton Affiliates – company that owns Babine Forest Products and Decker Lake Forest Products, said he doesn’t anticipate any changes to the company’s operating plans in 2017.

“As long as the global lumber market stays strong, we do not expect any layoffs from the trade duties at Babine and Decker Lake,” he said.

Zika said Hampton Affiliates might benefit from having operations on both sides of the border.

“The Hampton sawmills in the U.S. may benefit in the short-term from restrictions on Canadian lumber, but we support a negotiated agreement that is fair to both Canada and the U.S. and a focus on joint efforts to increase the use of wood products in construction markets,” he said.

“Our Canadian and U.S. mills sell a significant amount of lumber in many markets around the world, primarily in Asia, and we are always looking for new markets to diversify our customer base,” he added.

B.C.’s newly appointed minister of forests John Rustad, who’s also the Nechako Lakes MLA, said that even though British Columbians knew this decision was coming, it doesn’t soften the blow.

“The only long-term solution is a negotiated trade agreement,” he said. “We will ensure B.C.’s interests are protected in any such agreement.”

“The alternative is to be subject to U.S. legal processes designed to favour a few select timber barons,” he continued. “These actions hurt Canadian companies and Canadian workers, but they also hurt U.S. homebuyers and the U.S. construction and renovation industry.”

“History shows that the American decisions on duties do not withstand legal scrutiny,” he added. “Once the final determinations have been made by the U.S. Department of Commerce, we’ll be working closely with the federal government and B.C. industry on launching appeals.”

Susan Yurkovich, president of the B.C. Lumber Trade Council, said the latest duty continues efforts of the U.S. lumber industry to restrict imports and drive up the price of their products.

“The ongoing allegations levelled by the U.S. industry are without merit,” Yurkovich said. “This was proven in the last round of litigation and we fully expect it will be again.”

– With files from Tom Fletcher