Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: an early century Canadian lumber dispute

If this 2001 story sounds familiar, it should. It's happening again today.

BY HBSDealer Staff

The Sept. 3, 2001 issue of National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, carried the headline: “Canadians, dealers cry foul as U.S. slaps duty on lumber.”

To those who follow current events, this article will sound remarkably familiar. It leads:

“The Commerce Department announced on Aug. 10 that it would impose a 19.3% penalty on lumber imported from Canada in an effort to counterbalance what it believes are subsidies that unfairly benefit Canadian timber firms. The tariff went into effect one week later on all lumber shipments from Canada and is retroactive to all shipments since mid-May.

“Though the penalty is less than half the 40percent duty demanded by U.S. timber producers, Canadian government and industry representatives seethed at the decision.”

A similar issue divides the United States and Canada today. And it’s part of the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association’s policy agenda to get an agreement on the books.

Back in 2001, the battle lines were drawn in the same places.

On the Canadian side: “I’m getting frustrated listening to Americans talk about free trade, but when it comes to action they support the protectionist voices instead of consumers,” said then Canadian Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew.

On the American side: “There can be no remaining doubts that Canadian lumber mills, subsidized by their government, benefit from pricing policies which hurt our U.S. producers and workers,” said Rusty Wood, chairman of the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports, a U.S. lumber industry group.

HBSDealer’s Throwback Thursday is sponsored by Schaffer Associates, a national management consulting firm specializing in executive search and organizational strategies for the hardware, home improvement, building materials, and consumer products industries. As the premier management consulting firm serving the industry, we help build organizations and leadership teams that foster corporate growth and success well into the future. Contact


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