Senators Urge USTR to Consider Lumber Users in SLA Talks

Originally published by: NAHBSeptember 6, 2016

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Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman urging him to take into account the interests of domestic lumber consumers, including home builders, as talks progress with Canada on a new softwood lumber agreement.

“It is our hope that in negotiating a new agreement with Canada, you will push for measures that take into account not only the impact of price fluctuations on the domestic lumber industry, but also on those secondary industries and consumers that rely on softwood lumber for their economic well-being,” the senators wrote.

A nine-year softwood lumber agreement between the United States and Canada that established a system of fees and quotas on Canadian imports to the United States that were triggered in response to changes in the market price of softwood lumber expired last October.

The two nations are now engaged in a one-year “cooling off” period – meaning no trade disputes can be filed by either country regarding softwood lumber imports – until Oct. 12.

As U.S. and Canadian negotiators discuss the parameters of a new agreement, lumber end users hope negotiators are mindful of the U.S. housing market and ensure American consumers have access to a stable, dependable and affordable lumber supply. The latest three-year average share of Canadian imported lumber in the U.S. market is 28%.

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