Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ruling This Week on Drywall Tariffs Linked to Higher Home Costs and New Jobs

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ruling This Week on Drywall Tariffs Linked to Higher Home Costs and New Jobs

Article excerpt

Drywall duty ruling linked to jobs, home costs

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CALGARY - Anti-dumping duties on U.S. drywall imports into Western Canada have hiked prices for the building product but have also resulted in new manufacturing jobs, says the company whose complaint prompted the trade tariffs.

CertainTeed Gypsum Canada has added about 30 employees since duties began in September at its drywall plants in Vancouver, Calgary and Winnipeg to boost production, said spokesman Mike Loughery in an email.

"Shifts have been added and production has been increased to respond to market demand," he wrote, adding he couldn't comment for competitive reasons on how much output has been increased.

The Canadian International Trade Tribunal is scheduled to rule Wednesday on whether imports of drywall or gypsum board from the United States have injured the western Canadian industry, with reasons for the decision to follow 15 days later.

If the answer is yes, preliminary duties of up to 276 per cent on U.S. imports into Canada for use in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Yukon and Northwest Territories could be made permanent.

Kevin Sheptycki, assistant business manager with the Boilermakers union that represents CertainTeed workers, said the jobs prove the duties are working and must be continued.

"For our members ... and for CertainTeed to be able to continue to operate in the market and make a profit at a fair market price, we need the duties to stay in place."

But Neal Pollock, spokesman for the Western Canada Alliance of Wall and Ceiling Contractors, said the duties are causing significant harm to the construction industry and should be removed.

He said contractors report increases in drywall prices of between 30 per cent in Alberta and 55 per cent in B.C., costs they have had to absorb under contracts signed before the duties began.

"The magnitude of the harm is significant," said Pollock, president of industrial contractor TDL Drywall in Calgary. …

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