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Softwood lumber tariff hitting Canfor hardest

Canfor paying 19.54%; West Fraser 11.12%
Canfor Corp. is bearing the biggest brunt as new tariffs on softwood lumber exports into the United States come into effect.

Starting this week, the penalty will be 19.54% — more than quadruple the 4.62% it had been paying and of little solace from the fact the U.S. Commerce Department had been considering a slightly higher 21% in May when preliminary tariffs were announced.

Combined, Canadian lumber producers will be paying 17.9% —  slightly below the 18.32% preliminary rate issued in May but double the initial 8.99% rate.

"We are very disappointed with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s decision to double the unwarranted duties on Canadian softwood lumber," Canfor spokesperson Michelle Ward said. 

"This decision hurts our B.C. forest industry and it hurts American families who rely on our low-carbon wood products. We will continue to strongly defend Canfor against these unjustified duties."

West Fraser Co. Ltd. is paying 11.12%, compared to 8.97%, giving the company a competitive advantage.

 The rates came into effect on Thurs., Dec. 2, are expected to be in place until summer 2022.

Canfor curtails northern pulp mills

Meanwhile, Canfor said Thursday it is curtailing production at its Taylor and Northwood pulp mills this month due to "significant transportation interruptions" caused by recent flooding and rainfall in the province.

The mill in Taylor will be curtailed for at least four weeks, while Northwood in Prince George will be curtailed for at least two weeks, the company said, noting mill inventories are nearing capacity.

Canfor said production is being reduced at the two mills until the provincial transportation network returns to more-normal operating conditions. 

“As a result of the extreme rainfall and flooding that BC has been experiencing in recent weeks, the rail and highway networks have been substantially impacted," Canfor CEO Don Kayne said in a statement. 

"Our employees have worked very hard to mitigate the impacts of the supply chain challenges and it has now become critical to reduce production to manage inventory levels and ensure employee safety until the transportation network returns to more normal operations."

— with files from Alaska Highway News