J.D. Irving Ltd. warns it could be hurt by high tariffs on other companies

J.D. Irving Ltd. warns it could be hurt by high tariffs on other companies

J.D. Irving Ltd. is urging quick negotiations with the U.S. on softwood lumber tariffs and warning that its operations will be hurt by higher tariffs charged to other New Brunswick companies.

JDI escaped the 20 percent tariff slapped on other softwood lumber suppliers after requesting a separate review by the U.S.Commerce Department.

Instead the company will be charged about three percent.

But Jerome Pelletier, the JDI vice-president for sawmills, said the interconnected nature of the industry in New Brunswick means high tariffs on other companies in the province could mean trouble for Irving.

"Those producers could be supplying chips to some of our mills, or bark, or residue products," said Pelletier. "So potentially it could have an impact to the entire supply chain of the forest sector in New Brunswick."

The US Department of Commerce Department announced countervailing duties of up to 24 percent Tuesday, replacing a softwood lumber agreement that expired in 2015.

Pelletier said there is no reason other local companies should be forced to pay a higher rate since they pay the same stumpage price for Crown wood that Irving does.

The rate levied by the province, he said, is based on market prices.

"We know that we're all operating in the same environment," Pelletier said. "We all pay the same royalties for the trees that we're harvesting on Crown.

"And for that reason we will support the rest of the industry here to be excluded like we've been here for the last 35 years."