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U.S. lumber group takes issue with subsidy plan

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The U.S. Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports, which describes itself as an “alliance of sawmill employees and woodland owners united in opposition to Canada’s trade practice related to lumber exports,” has announced opposition to a Canadian government plan to subsidize some forestry companies.

The group claims Canadian authorities may use the subsidy plan, announced Jan. 10, to aid the Canadian forestry industry in violation of the U.S.-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement. The agreement came into effect Oct. 12, 2006, and specifically prohibits new government subsidies to the Canadian lumber industry, the group said.

The subsidy plan is part of an approximately $1 billion government proposal, which will be earmarked to provide relief to the forestry sector during the current difficult market conditions, but will also help fishing and manufacturing companies.

“Lumber industries on both sides of the border are going through difficult circumstances, but now is not the time for the Canadian government to step in with new subsidy [plans] to give its industry unfair advantages in the U.S. market,” said Steve Swanson, chairman of the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the plan is not intended as a sweeping aid package for forestry companies, but for “one-industry” towns facing major layoffs or chronic high unemployment.

The coalition plans to launch a review of the new program outline released last week, according to a press release.

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FBMA elects new officers

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The Florida Building Material Association (FBMA) has elected Brad Wanzenberg of Deerfield Builders Supply as its new chairman. Wanzenberg, whose term started on Jan. 1, is executive vp of the Tampa Bay chain, which operates locations in Deerfield Beach, Clearwater, Fort Meyers and Sarasota.

Other FBMA board of directors elected for 2009 include: Dennis Vlassis, Gulf Stream Builders Supply, as treasurer and the chairman-elect; Wade Jefferson, Beaver Door & Trim, as first vice chairman; Bridget Pulsifer, Mills & Nebraska, as secretary; and Don Magruder, Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply Company, as national dealer director and immediate past chairman.

Founded in 1920, FBMA represents building material dealers and suppliers throughout the state of Florida.

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Do it Best launches credit card program

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Do it Best Corp. has partnered with Shoppers Charge Accounts Co. (SCA) to develop and administer a new private label credit card program for its dealer-members throughout the United States, SCA announced.

The new Do it Best credit card will provide such special features as 90-day and six-month “same-as-cash” extended payment terms.

“Through our partnership with Shopper’s Charge Accounts Co. we’ve had many members show interest in this program as a way to help them get away from house accounts, plus offer their customers new purchasing options such as 90 days, 6 months or 12 months same as cash,” said Chris Hill, interim retail programs coordinator for Do it Best.

Headquartered in Mahwah, N.J., Shoppers Charge Accounts Co. ranks among the nation’s largest private label credit card companies. A division of TD Banknorth, N.A., the company launches and administers new credit card portfolios for brick-and-mortar, Internet and catalog merchants, and acquires retailers’ existing credit card portfolios.

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