Gypsum tariff will raise prices by up to 60%

SPECIAL REPORT — A ruling on September 6 by the Canadian International Trade Tribunal to impose a tariff on drywall being sold in Western Canada will increase prices starting tomorrow. The tariff will effectively raise the price of drywall in the West by as much as 60%, which has created a furor among drywall distributors, home builders, and contractors.

The tariff was triggered by a complaint filed with Canada Border Services by CertainTeed Gypsum. That complaint alleged that competitors were dumping gypsum wallboard in Western Canada below market price. In an email to HARDLINES, Matthew Walker, general manager of Certainteed, laid out his company’s argument for the complaint, saying, in part: “Under Canadian laws, these unfair trade practices are sanctioned through an offsetting duty. Our actions are meant to stop this practice and bring a level playing field to the Western Canadian marketplace by having all manufacturers conform to regulatory and legal requirements as prescribed under Canadian law.”

Doug Skrepnek at WSB Titan, a major drywall supplier selling across the country, is alarmed by the size of the increase. “This has changed the game for everybody, because there’s no way for us to sell the product without passing the price increase along.”

Walker points out that Certainteed is the only domestic gypsum board manufacturer in Western Canada. However, Skrepnek says Certainteed’s facilities in the West simply cannot meet all the demand there.