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08/10/2022

NLBMDA weighs in on softwood lumber tariffs

The association will continue advocating for renewed negotiations between the United States and Canada.
Andy Carlo
LBM Editor
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The U.S. Department of Commerce is lowering duties on many Canadian softwood lumber imports to 8.59% after finalizing its third annual administrative review.

While the U.S. Lumber Coalition applauded the Aug. 4 decision, the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) said it welcomes the reduction but maintained its stance that more work is needed.

Both the NLBMDA and the National Association of Home Builders have urged the White House and Congress to resume talks with Canada and finalize a new Softwood Lumber Agreement.

In a statement issued by the NLBMDA, it said, “the tariff remains a punitive tax on American consumers that weakens the U.S. housing market and prevents access to affordable homeownership by destabilizing the lumber supply chain.”

The association has heavily lobbied trade officials in the Biden Administration and the Commerce Department to eliminate tariffs on Canadian lumber and negotiate a new Softwood Lumber Agreement. 

“American builders get more than a quarter of their softwood lumber from Canada and have been hit with exorbitant tariffs that have fluctuated since 2017,” the NLBMDA said.

As the debate continues, the NLBMDA plans to continue engaging the Biden Administration on softwood lumber tariffs and is advocating for renewed negotiations between the United States and Canada.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Commerce reduced duties on Canadian softwood lumber imports from 17.9% to 11.64%.

In June, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai testified at a hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies regarding the Biden Administration’s trade priorities for 2023. 

Tai said that the administration was “open and interested” in negotiating a new Softwood Lumber Agreement.

But on the same day, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the Biden administration will not cut tariffs on Canadian lumber to fight inflation. Yellen’s remarks, reported by Reuters, were made while speaking with reporters during a visit to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe reservation in South Dakota.