Trump’s tariff on lumber to have trickle down affect in Smithers

The US decision to impose increased duties on Canadian lumber exports will be felt here at home

For the full story, see May 3rd’s edition of The Interior News

The United States government’s decision to impose increased duties on Canadian lumber exports is going to be felt here at home.

One small sawmill in Moricetown is bracing for the hit. Kyahwood Forest Products, owned by the Moricetown Band, currently employs 58 people. The softwood lumber mill makes finger joint studs for the North American housing market, with most of their products destined for the US.

The almost 20 per cent new duty on Kyahwood’s products into the United States is also retroactive ninety days. In the past 90 days, shipments to the US grossed $1,918,159, meaning the retro sum owning is $381,330, according to a press release from the Moricetown Band.

The release also said the duty will need to be prepaid and on average payments from the sawmill will be $11,000 per rail shipment, causing an impact on their cash flow.

Manager of Kyahwood Forest Products in Moricetown Gary Mckinnon said this will ‘formally affect manning’ but isn’t ready to talk job losses.

Ninety-eight per cent of the staff is indigenous and the company also supports many local businesses through its annual $2 million annual payroll. These tariffs could have a serious impact on the community.

However, McKinnon is remaining optimistic that they will weather this storm.

“We are taking it day by day and make arrangements to be successful every day. There is just a fork in the road and we need to make some adjustments to be sustainable,” he said.

He added this news isn’t affecting morale at the mill and that it is still early in the game.

“We are doing our due diligence in the office and figuring out ways and avenues to approach and then we will let our employees know [what we are doing].

The other sawmill in Smithers, Pacific Inland Resources, is owned by West Fraser. They make two inch lumber in various sizes and also supply chips to pulp mills in Prince George, sawdust and shavings for NewPro and trim blocks for an outfit out of Houston. PIR currently has 200 full time employees. West Fraser’s products going to the states will see some of highest tariffs imposed by the US across Canada. The company is not commenting at this time.

To see more from your MP and the local provincial election candidates see the May 3rd edition of The Interior News

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