05/31/2017 11:20 EDT | Updated 05/31/2017 11:24 EDT

Softwood Lumber Duties Imposed By U.S. To Cost 2,200 Canadian Jobs: Report

The duties represent an additional $1.7-billion cost to the industry.

MONTREAL — The Conference Board of Canada says U.S. softwood lumber duties will cut $700 million from Canadian exports over two years and result in the reduction of 2,200 jobs.

The board released a report Wednesday that says curtailed exports should lower the industry's pre-tax profit to $1.1 billion in 2018, down from $1.8 billion last year and $1.4 billion this year, despite growing revenues.

The U.S. government recently imposed preliminary countervailing duties ranging between three and 24 per cent on Canadian softwood lumber exports.

Anti-dumping duties to be announced next month are expected to raise tariffs to about 30 per cent, half of which should be absorbed by Canadian producers.

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers a speech during the Arab-Islamic-American Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 21, 2017. The Trump administration's duties on Canadian lumber are expected to cost 2,200 jobs, according to a report from the Conference Board of Canada.

Michael Burt, director of industrial trends for the board, says that without tariffs, Canadian wood sector employment would grow by 1,000 to reach 93,300 next year, but with the tariffs employment is projected to fall to 91,100.

The board's report says duties paid at current export levels will cost Canadian producers $1.7 billion a year until a softwood settlement is reached.

The gloomy forecast comes after the Canada industry last year enjoyed its strongest performance since the U.S. housing collapse in 2006, as exports grew 13.5 per cent to reach $13.2 billion.

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