A week after President Donald Trump called Canada a “disgrace” for policies that hurt Wisconsin dairy farmers, he’s slapping tariffs on Canadian lumber.
“It has been a bad week for US-Canada trade relations,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Tuesday.
The tariffs, of up to 24%, are aimed at Canadian exports of softwood lumber into the United States – material that’s used in the building industry.
The National Association of Home Builders, based in Washington, D.C., said the tariffs could drive up the cost of new homes.
State officials are offering financial help to Wisconsin dairy farms in desperate need of customers and for processors already oversaturated with milk to absorb more.
Gov. Scott Walker, who on Tuesday also weighed in on the international trade tension at the root of the crisis, announced that the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority will temporarily loosen the rules on a revolving capital loan program for dairy farmers and milk processors.
It’s not a long-term solution, state officials say, but it provides another resource for Wisconsin’s dairy farms affected by Grassland Dairy Products Inc., of Greenwood, which informed 67 dairy farms earlier this month, most from Wisconsin and some from Minnesota, it no longer would accept their milk after May 1.
Associated Bank CEO Philip Flynn expects another year of steady growth for Wisconsin’s largest bank.
Flynn told shareholders, directors and employees at the Green Bay-based bank’s annual meeting at the KI Convention Center that a solid economy, improving interest rate margins and low unemployment have helped the bank’s bottom line. He said he expects incremental growth in assets, loans, deposits and net income will continue in 2017 as it has since 2012.
The upper Midwest timber industry is welcoming the Trump administration’s announcement that it’s imposing tariffs averaging 20 percent on softwood lumber entering the United States from Canada.
The industry has been struggling in Minnesota and Wisconsin in recent years. The housing market crash in 2008 cut demand for softwood lumber products such as pine 2×4 studs and other kinds of boards used to build homes, which are among the products affected by the administration’s move. So industry groups in both states saw Monday’s announcement as good news for communities with sawmills, and for loggers who supply them.