PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — With the U.S. announcing it will impose 29 per cent duties on softwood lumber exports, many small B.C. communities are bracing for the impact.
Some observers say the latest duty will be a crippling blow to coastal and interior logging communities, where unemployment already runs as high as 80 per cent.
“Nobody can swallow 29 per cent duties,” says Fort St. James Mayor, Jim Togyi.
In Prince George, IWA local 1-424 spokesman, Fred Carroll, says mill workers can expect more layoffs.
“If the price of lumber is high, it may not have a large effect, but as soon as the price of lumber goes down, we’ll face major layoffs again,” he warns. With less wood being processed in B.C. mills, truckers will also feel the impact.
In the meantime, Canfor insists it will go full out until the duties come into play in May.
“We’re not going to take downtime to the satisfaction of a bunch of U.S. protectionists,” Canfor chief executive officer, David Emerson tells local media.
While Canada continues to look for ways to fight the duties, taking the U.S. to task through the World Trade Organization or NAFTA could take up to five years.
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