LUMBERYARDS

Talks may reopen on softwood lumber agreement

BY Brae Canlen

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is urging federal officials not to use the U.S.-Canadian lumber agreement as a bargaining chip during the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement (TPP) negotiations.

The United States is currently in talks with Canada regarding its participation in a TPP trade pact with several other nations. The softwood lumber accord between the United States and Canada, which expires in 2015, should not be renegotiated as part of these discussions, according to the NAHB.

“It would be highly inappropriate for discussions on the U.S.-Canada softwood lumber agreement to include any nations,” the NAHB said in a prepared statement.

Jerry Howard, the trade group’s CEO, testified before the office of the U.S. Trade Representative in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 24.

"Reopening the U.S.-Canada softwood lumber agreement would jeopardize the successful negotiation of a TPP trade agreement, bogging down the talks with a century-old dispute between the United States and Canada on softwood lumber that has yet to achieve a final resolution," said Howard. "Softwood lumber issues are too important to get lost in the context of a multinational trade negotiation and must be addressed by the U.S. and Canada in a bilateral forum."

With the U.S. housing sector now showing signs of revival in scores of markets across the nation, Howard said the presence of artificial trade barriers on softwood lumber and other products and materials that go into home building can have significant economic consequences. He also noted that lumber is the most important and also the most costly material used in home building.

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Pro dealers to hone business skills

BY Ken Clark

The ProDealer Industry Summit, sponsored jointly by the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) and Home Channel News, will explore macroeconomic forces, as well as the everyday running of an LBM business.

One of those business-improvement presentations is “The One Minute Negotiator,” which isn’t geared toward consummating a deal in less than 60 seconds, stressed George Lucas, who will open the general session on Oct. 25. The author, trainer and consultant is focused on a one-minute strategy toward sizing up the other side of a negotiation and choosing the correct approach. 

“Most people are fearful of negotiations,” Lucas said. “They think it’s going to damage relationships.”  But negotiating skills are more important than ever in the current LBM market, he added. 

“Margins are thinner than they’ve ever been, and it’s extremely difficult to win new business based on price alone,” said Lucas, whose client list includes Orgill and Rust-Oleum. “Any attempt that’s price-based is going to get the incumbent to cut their price.”

Knowing the other side’s negotiating style — i.e., collaborative, competitive, accommodating, conflict-avoiding — is always helpful when entering into a deal-making session. But Lucas can offer pointers when recognizance is in short supply. “I try to help people get their mind around a negotiation in a short amount of time,” Lucas said.

The ProDealer Industry Summit will be held Oct. 24 to 26 at the Westin Savannah in Savannah, Ga. Jointly sponsored by Home Channel News and the NLBMDA, the three-day conference will include a dinner banquet, networking events, a golf tournament and educational sessions. For more information, visit prodealer.com.

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KB Home reports strong third quarter

BY HBSDealer Staff

KB Home reported third-quarter revenues increased 16% to $424.5 million, compared with $367.3 million in the third quarter of 2011. The company cited growth in the number of homes delivered and a higher average selling price for the increase.

Net income for the quarter ended Aug. 31 totaled $3.3 million, up $12.9 million from a net loss of $9.6 million in the year-earlier quarter.

The company’s home-0building operating income increased to $10.9 million in the current quarter, up from $1.4 million in the year-earlier quarter.

The home builder delivered 1,720 homes, up 7% from the year-earlier quarter, with three of its four home-building regions posting year-over-year increases. The overall average selling price of $245,100 rose by $17,700, or 8%, from $227,400 for the year-earlier quarter. 

For the nine months ended Aug. 31, revenues totaled $981.9 million, up 17% from $836.0 million for the year-earlier period. The company’s net loss of $66.7 million improved from the net loss of $192.7 million for the nine months ended Aug. 31, 2011.

Homes delivered increased 9% to 4,160, up from 3,817 in the year-earlier period.

The overall average selling price of $234,100 was up 8% from $217,400 for the corresponding period of 2011.

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