Home Builders Applaud Canadian Lumber Tariff Cuts

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A Commerce Dept. decision to reduce duties on Canadian softwood lumber shipments into the U.S. represents “a positive step” toward boosting housing starts and home affordability, but additional government action is necessary for housing to advance, the National Association of Home Builders said recently.

The NAHB applauded a recent action by government officials to lower duties on Canadian lumber shipments into the U.S. from more than 20% to 9%. Lumber prices, impacted largely by tariffs, have experienced extreme price volatility throughout 2020, negatively impacting housing affordability, according to the Washington, DC-based NAHB.

“The Commerce Department’s action to reduce duties on softwood lumber shipments from Canada into the U.S. is a positive development, but more needs to be done,” said NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke. “Tariffs have contributed to unprecedented price volatility in the lumber market in 2020, leading to upward pressure on prices and harming housing affordability for American consumers.

Housing construction and new home sales have grown at a robust pace in recent months as lumber prices have receded from unprecedented highs. Lumber prices, however, are still at an extremely high historical level, according to the NAHB.

“The U.S. needs to work with Canada to end the tariffs and achieve a long-term, stable solution in lumber trade that provides for a consistent and fairly priced supply of lumber,” Fowke said.

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