NAHB CEO Howard: Lumber Producers Acting Like Oil Cartels of the 1970s

Filed in Construction Industry, Home Building by on August 27, 2018 7 Comments

softwood lumberIn a National Post story on how lumber tariffs are affecting U.S. and Canadian lumber producers as well as American consumers, NAHB CEO Jerry Howard said the domestic lumber industry was behaving in a manner similar to the oil cartels of the 1970s.

“We believe the lumber producers were acting not much differently than the oil cartels did back in the 1970s,” said Howard in an interview with the Canadian news outlet. “There is just too much evidence that leads us to conclude that there was profiteering going on.”

In Buffalo, N.Y., one local home builder told the National Post the effects of these protectionist trade policies on his business have been “crippling.”

Domestic lumber production has not kept pace with growing demand since the tariffs were enacted, and U.S. logging and sawmill employment has been relatively flat. In a normal economic scenario, tariffs coupled with a steadily growing housing recovery would encourage domestic lumber producers to ramp up production and hiring to meet a growing demand for lumber.

Susan Yurkovich, president of the B.C. Lumber Trade Council, summed up the situation precisely when she told the National Post: “Who’s really suffering is the U.S. consumer.”

View the full National Post article.

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  1. Perhaps we should all be building better homes, while using less wood, by building with SIPS or ICFs. If we make their product less valuable, the price will come down.

  2. TP says:

    But, but America is great again.
    What happened to all the Kool Aid drinkers who said they would gladly pay more for tariff goods because it put Americans to work?

    • David Koster says:

      So clearly your comment is a Trump dig. I’m not necessarily a huge fan either, and didn’t drink any Kool-Aid. Our industry has huge headwinds, but a lot of things are better in the economy today for many, perhaps most. The problem here is that the tariffs have clearly not gotten the intended results.
      The issue here is that prices have skyrocketed way beyond any effects that the tariffs can justify. Which is the point of the article. Maybe this is a collusion issue worthy of investigating.

  3. Donna Smith says:

    This is not new just an excuse to over charge. Sure Canada is mad well get over it. It’s time to take control of our own destiny. Let’s have a long talk talk with the power brokers buying and selling the materials. US should be in full production mode. Remember in the 70’s when you couldn’t get nails, there were boats of nails sitting on boats waiting on the price to reach all time high and they did and then a miracle, boats started landing with loads of nails. This is all being manipulated !! Follow the money!!

  4. Vernon Young says:

    The fix is simple. Ban the export of timber, just as we did oil until we were overly self sufficient. The cartel is exporting to maintain a shortage. Where are the votes, with the cartel, NO!

    • David Koster says:

      Government mandates and regulations are very slippery slopes. I prefer enforcement of existing laws regarding economic collusion and price fixing as a better solution.

  5. Jerry Highley says:

    WE should be happy to put American lumbermen back to work. We are letting our timber burn buy wild fires when if we would only manage the timber we my not have these problems. President Trump is putting people to work! I am a builder and don’t like the price of lumber today but it will take some time for us to catch up.

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