NAHB Testifies Before ITC on Softwood Lumber

Filed in Business Management, Construction Industry by on December 16, 2016 4 Comments

Barry Rutenberg (center) offers NAHB testimony.

Former NAHB Chairman and Florida builder Barry Rutenberg testified today before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to encourage commissioners to take into account builders’ preferences for Spruce Pine Fir (SPF) lumber over Southern Yellow Pine (SYP) in certain structural lumber applications as the ITC investigates whether Canada is subsidizing its exports into the United States.

A nine-year softwood lumber agreement between the U.S. and Canada that established a system of fees and quotas on Canadian imports to the U.S. that were triggered in response to changes in the market price of softwood lumber expired in Oct. 2015.

Negotiations on a new agreement have failed. Last month, U.S. lumber producers filed a petition with the ITC, reigniting a long-term trade battle between the two countries.

NAHB is fighting to ensure American consumers have access to a stable, dependable and affordable lumber supply.

Testifying before the ITC commissioners, Rutenberg stressed that different species of lumber are used for specific building applications.

“In my experience, lumber is purchased primarily by species based upon past performance of the wood,” Rutenberg said. “The preference for SPF in framing applications is driven by [its] superior stability and workability.

“I use SPF because it provides for straighter walls. My experience is that SYP is much more prone to warp and twist in drywall surfaces, both horizontal and vertical . .  and cause the nails to work themselves out and other imperfections that would be apparent to the home owner.”

In fact, said Rutenberg, the drawbacks to using SYP “are such that an increase in price due to anti-dumping or countervailing duties is not going to cause builders to flock to SYP. It just doesn’t deliver what they need. Choices between building materials are not made on price, but on performance.”

For additional information, contact Suzanne Beall at 800-368-5242 x8407 or Felicia Watson at x8229.



Comments (4)

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  1. Tim says:

    Rutenberg hit the nail on the head.

  2. If it’s about fair trade then yes investigate, if its about using better materials then make the trade work. Yellow pine does not stay straight unless used in trusses that are held together with gussets.

  3. Big variation between syp n spf dimesion and stability rediculous to do that since not interchangeable applications, Will only hurt home priced if which wood cimponents can be as 25-30% of entire home costs including land Commerce Sec was wrong when he said largest cost was land. Land should not be more than 25-30# entire budget for hime

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