TOURISM trade is keeping Portland businesses busy but some bracing for possible flow-on effects from ongoing trade tensions fear it could be a "honeymoon period".
The main export market for two of the region's products, timber and rock lobster, disappeared last year as China suspended importing the products from Australia.
With no end to suspensions in sight Committee for Portland chair Steve Garner said there was "a general feeling of uncertainty" in the community.
"They know there is people hurting because they aren't carting logs," he said.
The city's Sports Power and Compleat Angler owner Bruce Elijahs said sales in the tourist season were "up on last year" but the trade tensions worried him.
"I have been here 41 years. I am not happy with what is going on with the trade," Mr Elijahs said.
"It is probably not reflecting yet, because we normally have a busy January ... We might be having a bit of a honeymoon period, but what's to come we don't really know."
Davis Print owner Michael Davis also held concerns about possible flow-on effects but said there had been no impact on the business yet.
"I know from experience if there is less wood and less wood chips going out of town, there will be less for us," he said.
"Those companies that do that work, they will spend less with us. It's certain that will happen."
Glenelg Shire mayor Anita Rank said there were big supply chains in the timber industry and the flow-on effects could be widespread, with new markets possibly taking years to find.
"Once we get to the end of January and people go back to school and work, if we don't have people in work they won't be able to spend," Cr Rank said.
"That's when it's going to hit hardest, when the tourists have gone home and people have gone back to work."
She said she was aware of businesses "doing everything they can to keep (staff) on the books" due to the log suspensions, with some workers moving to other industries such as meat processing in Warrnambool.
"There are a number of people affected and that has huge ramifications on our town," Cr Rank said.
She said some businesses were ineligible for JobKeeper, and called for the support to be tailored to industries facing trade challenges.
"JobKeeper should be looked at industry-by-industry as need be," Cr Rank said.
"They have been affected by something that is external and out of their control. They have people on annual leave or they have been deployed to other industries."
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