U.S. trade officials have again put the hammer down on softwood lumber imports from Canada, which last year poured into Maine in higher numbers.
Imports of softwood lumber increased about 60 percent last year, according to trade statistics published by the U.S. Census Bureau. Wood in those categories is now subject to tariffs of about 20 percent — 3 percent in an exception for Irving.
But the story behind those increasing imports is complicated. A lot of mills along Maine’s border take in wood from the United States, mill it and then sell it back into U.S. markets.
And a group of those mills along the Quebec border is hoping to get out from under a nearly 20 percent tariff they expect will last at least until early next year, when they can make their case for reducing or eliminating it.
Read their take and more on industry reaction to the tariff in our related story: Why many Maine sawmill owners are not cheering Trump’s lumber tariff.