President Donald Trump’s threat to impose duties of up to 24 per cent will definitely have an impact on British Columbia.
What remains to be seen is how drastic that impact will be.
CKNW Business Analyst Robert Levy says there’s no disputing what softwood means for the B.C. economy.
“It is going to take a chunk out of softwood exports to the U.S.”
He says the tariff should be alarming not only for B.C., but Canada as a whole.
“This is a concern for Canadians and the Canadian economy because of the picture that softwood painted in terms of non-resource export growth last year. Softwood lumber made up a quarter of a per cent of it, so it’s a major component of the Canadian economy.”
However, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Trump exchanging words on Tuesday, Levy says the tariffs could lead to a new deal being made.
“Some economists and analysts have suggested that this maybe gets rolled into the new NAFTA agreement between the two countries. You could say it’s a bit of posturing, but lumber’s an extremely important industry to the B.C. economy, and absent of an election this would be an issue the provincial government would be a part of and part of negotiations with the U.S.”
Levy adds it’s important to remember despite the agreement expiring in October 2015, between February 2016 and February 2017, there still was the highest level of Canadian softwood exports to the U.S. in more than a decade.