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March 23, 2018

LePage: Trump tariffs on Canadian lumber hurting Maine

The LePage administration said the Trump administration's tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber are causing Maine to lose revenues because it can't find buyers for its own wood.

But others have said the tariffs have steadied a struggling industry, according to an Associated Press report in the Journal Tribune.

Former state economist and former Bureau of Public Land director Lloyd Irland said tariffs aren't the primary reason builders are seeing sharply rising prices for softwood lumber: Instead, the lumber market could be adjusting after a housing market crash, when lumber production plunged.

Chris Brochu, whose family owns a pair of Maine mills, told the paper he supported the tariffs, adding that the price of wood is high, the market is good and Maine sawmills are hiring additional workers.

Gov. Paul R. LePage disagreed, as reported by the AP, stating: "It's hurting more than it's helping because the American people have to pay a higher price for their lumber."

Newspapers oppose tariffs on Canadian newsprint

Meanwhile, the Maine Press Association has joined with other newspaper trade groups across the country in opposing tariffs on Canadian newsprint

"The Maine Press Association stands with the News Media Alliance and with newspaper publishers across the country in opposing tariffs on Canadian newsprint entering the United States," it stated in its March 22 newsletter, which asks member newspapers to fill out a survey to help the News Media Alliance gather data that will be used to create an economic analysis of the newsprint market that will be submitted to the International Trade Commission.

MPA reported that in January, the Department of Commerce announced "preliminary" countervailing or anti-subsidy duties on newsprint imported from Canada that range from 4.4% to 9.9%. Additional antidumping duties as high as 22% were announced on March 13. Canadian producers have said that they will pass these duty costs on to newspapers and other consumers, according to the MPA.

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