May 16 (Reuters) - Canadian lumber company Resolute Forest Products Inc said its move to temporarily lay off 1,282 employees was related to the United States' decision last month to impose preliminary anti-subsidy duties on imports of Canadian softwood lumber.
The company said, starting Monday, it would cut shifts at three sawmills in Quebec for a six-week period, and also halt some activities at another sawmill in Quebec for two weeks, among other actions.
"Real people are now being impacted by the baseless actions of the U.S. Department of Commerce. They not only hurt Canadians, as demonstrated clearly with these actions, but American Consumers are also hit hard by market volatility," Resolute Forest's spokesman Seth Kursman told Reuters on Monday.
The U.S. tariffs, which affect nearly $5.66 billion worth of imports of construction material, were imposed at a time when the two countries and Mexico are preparing to renegotiate the 23-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement.
Canadian firms affected by the tariff include West Fraser Timber Co Ltd, Canfor Corp, Conifex Timber Inc , Western Forest Products Inc and Interfor Corp , apart from Resolute Forest Products. (Reporting by John Benny in Bengaluru; Editing by Martina D'Couto)