NAHB: Lumber tariffs will increase cost of new homes

WASHINGTON – June 27, 2017 – Granger MacDonald, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), took issue with a second lumber tariff proposed by the U.S. Commerce Department, saying it’s “basically another tax on American home builders and home buyers that will jeopardize affordable housing in America.”
According to MacDonald, Commerce’s preliminary decision would impose up to 7.7 percent anti-dumping duties on Canadian lumber imports in addition to tariffs announced earlier.
“Adding this new tariff to the proposed 20 percent countervailing lumber duty that the Trump administration slapped on imports of lumber this spring means that total tariffs would be a whopping 27 percent,” MacDonald says. “Given that lumber is a major component in new home construction, the combined duties will harm housing affordability and price countless American households out of the housing market.”
U.S. homebuilders rely on Canada for about one-third of their lumber needs, in part because the U.S. has a limited domestic timber supply available for harvesting, which MacDonald also took issue with.
“Policymakers need to take steps to significantly reduce red tape that prevents the U.S. Forest Service from better managing its timber lands and increase the delivery of domestic timber products into the market,” he says.
“A robust housing market is essential to stimulate job and economic growth,” he adds. “With the U.S. housing sector regaining its footing, imposing arbitrary protectionist restrictions to subsidize domestic lumber producers will blunt this forward momentum and make homeownership more expensive for hard-working families. Clearly, this is not the way to resolve the U.S.-Canada lumber trade dispute or to boost the American economy.”