The Trump administration has announced its plan to hit the Canadian lumber industry with new taxes — as high as 24 per cent — on imported wood, and the news has left Canadians feeling like they’ve been slapped in the face.
The new tax essentially means that American companies would opt for locally-sourced softwood lumber, shying away from the Canadian product due to the hefty price hike. Understandable. Who wants to pay nearly a quarter more its actual price for something they could otherwise buy for much, much less?
Trump’s supporters are pointing to the tax hike as another example of the president’s commitment to bringing jobs and production back to the the great land of America, but pretty much everyone else is recognizing this for what it is: a threat and insult to the United States’ long-standing trade relationship with Canada. Not to mention, it could inflict damage on Canadian jobs — from harvesting to shipping lumber.
“The Government of Canada disagrees strongly with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s decision to impose an unfair and punitive duty. The accusations are baseless and unfounded,” Jim Carr, the minister of Canadian resources, and Chrystia Freeland, the minister of foreign affairs, wrote in a statement released by the Canadian government.
But this price hike doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Canadians who work in the lumber industry feel the pinch of tariff negotiations every ten years as the two countries argue about how much Canada should pay to get its abundance of quality lumber over the border and into the U.S. markets. But one of the more alarming things to come from the announcement, noted BNN’s Jameson Berkow, is that America’s Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that this won’t turn into a trade war, which, let’s be honest, no one should have to say if it wasn’t a possibility.
Critics warn that this sudden move by Trump — who’s still shy of being in office for 100 days — could just be the tip of the iceberg. Canadians may be in for even more of a shock as the year progresses.