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EACOM wants gov’t loan program in face of U.S. trade action

Montreal forest giant expects to pay duties on lumber exports by May
EACOM Timber
(EACOM photo)

EACOM Timber supports federal Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr’s move to create a federal-provincial softwood lumber task force to better coordinate government and industry activities and impacts with potentially damaging U.S. tariffs on the horizon.

The Montreal forest products giant is preparing for the worst now that the U.S. Lumber Coalition filed a petition with the Department of Commerce to institute duties to be imposed on Canadian softwood lumber exports.

EACOM with the Ontario and Quebec governments want Ottawa to establish a federal loan guarantee program to support industry through uncertain times.

“It is likely that Canadian producers will be paying duties by May 2017. At this point it is difficult to predict the impact that duties could have because there is no certainty regarding at what level they will be,” said company spokeswoman Christine Leduc by email.

“If this is something that the task force will be responsible for reviewing/analyzing, they will need to work fast as we will know the impact of duties by late April.

“It’s really important that this program be federal, rather than various provincially-based programs, to allow companies to conduct regular business operations throughout whatever trade litigation process we are in for.”

EACOM Timber Corporation operates sawmills in Ear Falls, Nairn Centre, Timmins, Gogama and Elk Lake, and is a partner in an engineered I-joist plant in Sault Ste. Marie with Anthony Forest Products of Arkansas.

“The legal process is a lengthy one and companies may struggle to operate as usual should the U.S. implement unreasonable high duties," Leduc said.

"Collaboration between federal and provincial governments, along with industry, will be paramount as we position ourselves to defend Canada’s interests,” said EACOM CEO Kevin Edgson in a Feb. 22 news release.

“Canada-U.S. trade is of vital importance for both countries. Arriving at an appropriate resolution is possible when you have two partners willing and ready to work through the issues."