NAHB seeks new softwood lumber agreement with Canada

August 5, 2020

By: The Working Forest Staff

NAHB — Amidst a backdrop of record-high lumber prices, the National Association of Home Builders is seeking to address supply chain disruptions and tariffs that are contributing to price volatility in the marketplace, the group announced on its NAHBNow blog.

NAHB sent letters to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, and Zoltan van Heyningen, executive director of the U.S. Lumber Coalition.

NAHB is seeking a meeting with Secretary Ross to discuss strategies to ease market concerns for builders and consumers alike. Tariffs on Canadian lumber imports into the U.S. average more than 20% and NAHB is calling on Ross to return to the negotiating table with Canada and redouble efforts to reach a new softwood lumber agreement. NAHB is also requesting the secretary to reach out to domestic lumber producers and urge them to increase lumber production to address shortages that are contributing to soaring prices.

The letter to U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer carried a similar message: antidumping and countervailing duties currently in place on imported softwood lumber from Canada are aggravating already high lumber prices, and tariffs on other products are also contributing to higher construction costs leading to more expensive housing.

“Today, we reiterate our concerns that the ongoing dispute remains unresolved, leading to further disruptions in the consistent supply and availability of lumber for housing,” NAHB’s letter to Lighthizer stated. “We know there are many pressing trade matters affecting the U.S. economy, but the softwood lumber dispute is one that should not be left on the back burner. Lumber supply, housing affordability, and an industry with the potential to lead the U.S. out of the current pandemic-induced recession should not be ignored. We urge the USTR to work with Canada to develop a workable and long-term solution to a trade dispute that has continued for more than 37 years.”

NAHB’s message to the U.S. Lumber Coalition was a request to work together to address shortages in the lumber supply chain caused in part by the current pandemic.

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