Tariffs on Canadian lumber companies levels playing field for local sawmills

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HULETT, Wyo (KOTA TV) Lumber has been caught up in a trade dispute between the united states and Canada since the 1980's. A 10-year tariff against Canadian lumber expired in 2015.One year later, some in the U.S. say Canadian lumber companies flooded the market and drove prices down.

"What's good for the Canadian's on their system is one thing but when they flood lumber and prices go way down because they're subsidized, this balances it out for both countries by having the tariff, " said Neiman Enterprises President Jim Neiman.

Last week, Canada was hit with tariffs of up to 24 percent on lumber shipped to the U.S., with the intent to make it a level playing field.

"Canadians tend to mark out big areas so they can sell really cheap stumpage. Down here, cost of logs is going to be some place in the neighborhood of 50% to 100% higher for the same wood because we're in a very competitive bidding process," said Neimann.

Jim Neiman, the president of Neiman Enterprises says without the tariffs, it's not just lumber industry which is affected.

"What happens every time you have a downturn in the market is that the Canadians continue to run their sawmills, and the mills down here are shut back to one shift and it really creates instability within the community. "

Neiman says the tariffs create stability for his company and community.

"Thank God this president said we're going to do what's right for the jobs in the US and not necessarily for the Jobs in Canada."

Most of the lumber goes towards building homes, and Nieman believes the tariffs won't affect the housing market much.