Lumber Tariffs ‘Could Not Have Come at a Worse Time’

Filed in Codes and Standards, Material Costs by on November 2, 2017 10 Comments

NAHB Chair Granger MacDonald today issued the following statement regarding the Commerce Department’s final decision to impose countervailing and anti-dumping duties on Canadian lumber imports:

“Today’s move by the Commerce Department to impose duties averaging 20.83% on Canadian lumber shipments into the U.S. could not have come at a worse time. Home builders and home owners are already dealing with the monumental rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of the devastating hurricane season and California wildfires. This tariff only adds to the burden by harming housing affordability and artificially boosting the price of lumber. It is nothing more than a thinly-disguised tax on American home buyers, home builders and consumers.

“This is particularly disappointing given that NAHB met recently with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to express our concerns on this issue. Unfortunately, the administration is taking protectionist measures to support domestic lumber producers at the expense of millions of U.S. home buyers and lumber consumers. This is an especially hard blow at a time when the housing sector is still struggling to regain its footing and grappling with rebuilding efforts following these natural disasters.

“Lumber is a major component in new home construction and one-third of the lumber used in the U.S. last year was imported. The bulk of the imported lumber – more than 95% – came from Canada.

“Canada and the U.S. need to work cooperatively to achieve a long-term, stable solution in lumber trade that provides for a consistent and fairly priced supply of lumber.

“On the domestic front, policymakers need to take steps that will help U.S. lumber firms meet domestic demand. Those efforts must include better and more active management of our federally owned forests to promote healthier forests which face imminent danger posed by insects, disease and catastrophic wildfire damage.

“These actions will help to calm volatile lumber markets and ensure a reliable and affordable supply of lumber for American consumers.”

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Comments (10)

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  1. Marty Knezovich says:

    Between the tariffs, and the proposed tax changes, I’d hope that the NAHB would reconsider it’s automatic support for Republican politicians,

  2. Philip Nanula says:

    This is adding $3000 to $4000 more in lumber cost per home. We are finding it difficult to pass these costs onto the customer as the costs of other materials and labor along with costly building code changed in New York state have been incurred throughout this year. If it was not for it being a sellers market and the reduced existing home inventory, sales in small to middle markets would not be able to withstand this increase. Regulators need to look at the big picture and do what is best for the majority on Americans.

  3. And the duties had previously been…….?

  4. More Russian Lumber, more imported lumber from Europe and Asia. Our largest trading partner in Lumber is Canada. We ship a lot of hardwood lumber and specialty softwood lumber to Canada.

  5. Chip Gachot says:

    As bad as this is, on face value – it creates an even larger issue with the relationship with Canada as a whole.
    Canada has always been a reliable and consistent trade partner/neighbor. Our ability to procure good quality lumber at reasonable prices from Canada has always maintained an equilibrium for the lumber supply from the US producers. Will the US producers be able to fill the void and maintain the previous pricing levels?

  6. N Hyman says:

    A serious blow to affordable housing. But what does Trump care about affordable housing? That’s only of interest to the middle class; it has no relevance to hotel developers.

  7. Fred Reiten says:

    Lets open up our federal land to logging, get our mills running at full potential and open up new mills. This is what the results are when the environmentalist take control of policy issues. We used to clear cut, slash burn the logged area which killed the majority of insects that kill the tree’s, replant and in 60 to 70 years harvest the same ground all over again. Environmentalist shut down the woods back in the late 80’s early 90’s that is why we have a deseased forest now. Middle class would benefit greatly with all the jobs that would be created if we logged our own land. Trees will not live forever, use them or lose them.

  8. N H says:

    Fred: The Canadian lumber the home builders import is not feasibly available internally. The senseless tariff protects no one; it only serves to impede access to affordable housing. But you may be right–affordable housing may be more available in 60 to 70 years.

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