Lumber Tariffs Called Impediment To
Washington, DC Noting that protectionist measures represent a
new hidden tax on American home buyers and consumers, and represent
a trade policy that would hinder housing affordability, the
nation’s home builders have called on Congress to support free
lumber trade between the U.S. and Canada.
“Lumber trade barriers will drive up the cost of housing and all
kinds of wood products for millions of consumers and workers in
lumber-dependent industries. This action threatens to delay or
impede the nation’s economic recovery,” Bobby Rayburn, v.p. and
treasurer of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), told
the Senate Finance Committee.
The Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports, a group of U.S. lumber
producers, last year petitioned the Commerce Dept. to impose
tariffs on Canadian lumber imports to shield domestic logging and
sawmill workers from having to compete with their Canadian
counterparts. The agency responded by slapping preliminary
countervailing and anti-dumping duties totaling 32% on lumber
shipments into the U.S.
A final decision by the Commerce Dept. is expected this
“Home building and remodeling account for two-thirds of lumber
consumption in the U.S., and lumber accounts for a larger share of
the cost of a home than any of the other materials used by home
builders,” Rayburn said.
“Even a small price increase resulting from lumber tariffs is
enough to knock thousands of potential first-time home buyers out
of the market,” he added. “And, because there are not enough trees
available to produce lumber for home building in the U.S., Canadian
lumber imports are absolutely vital for the construction of
affordable new homes.”
With more than 100 members of the House and Senate on record as
sponsoring a congressional resolution calling for free trade in
lumber between the U.S. and Canada, Rayburn said that it is time
for U.S. trade laws “to give priority to ordinary citizens.”
“U.S. trade laws have given little consideration to the
interests of consumers,” he said. “This bias has limited the
ability of American consumers to receive products and services of
the highest quality at the lowest cost, and of U.S. businesses to
provide jobs and increase production,” he testified.