OTTAWA — A year after the U.S. slapped protective tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber, its own consumers are being hit the hardest, while Canadian producers have emerged relatively unscathed. While the last round of the softwood dispute saw widespread losses of jobs and mill closures in Canada, those fears haven’t come to fruition this time. Instead, American consumers are picking up the tab for the cost of the duties.
Spokesperson Jennifer Stewart told the Canadian Press that little of the funding earmarked by the Economic Development Bank of Canada for aid to the industry has been sought out. “In our discussions with Canadian lumber exporters, they are telling us that they have largely been shielded from the worst effects of softwood lumber duties,” she said in an email. Meanwhile in the U.S., the National Association of Home Builders has decried the duties as “a tax on American home builders and … buyers,” as the country’s domestic producers can’t meet demand on their own.