The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association has sent a letter to President Trump urging him to address the critical issue of skyrocketing lumber prices. Lumber prices have been increasing significantly especially over the past several months, and NLBMDA urged the Administration to take steps and alleviate the problem for both dealers and the residential construction industry.
In the letter (download a copy here) NLBMDA identifies the 80% increase in lumber prices, and while the COVID-19 pandemic played a role, these prices and the rate of increase is not sustainable. NLBMDA urged the Administration to work with domestic producers to ensure production is at capacity to meet demand, along with a reemphasis on negotiating a renewed Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) with Canada. Staff will be working to meet with officials at the Department of Commerce to reemphasize the urgency of resolving these unsustainable prices.
On a related issue, a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute-resolution panel ruled recently that the United States Department of Commerce and Industrial Trade Commission improperly levied countervailing duties on Canadian softwood lumber exports in 2017.
The panel sided with Canadian lumber producers in their argument that the U.S. government made a series of errors when they concluded that Canada’s regulated forestry industry resulted in an unfair subsidy for Canadian producers.
While the WTO’s decision is non-binding, the panel has requested that the U.S. Department of Commerce reevaluate its duties imposed on Canadian softwood lumber in a manner which aligns with WTO trade agreement obligations.
NLBMDA recognizes that softwood lumber pricing and availability are critical and will continue to pressure the federal government to do its part to provide relief for America’s lumber and building material dealers.