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Federal plan to double Canadian lumber tariffs draws intense criticism

Builders advised to stock up to deal with shortages.

June 01, 2021 |

Courtesy Pixabay

With the price of lumber soaring, the Biden Administration’s new proposal to double lumber tariffs on Canadian shipments could worsen the situation.

The recently announced plan by the U.S. Commerce Department to increase the levy from 9% to 18.32% drew sharp criticism from the National Association of Home Builders. An NAHB official accused the administration of being disingenuous when it claims addressing the housing affordability crisis is an important priority.

Before last December, the tariffs were 20%. The U.S. reduced tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber imports to 9% in December. Canada is the nation's largest trading partner for softwood lumber.

Meanwhile, demand for lumber and steel continues to outpace supply. Some experts are advising builders to stockpile lumber and steel if possible, and to avoid locking in any long- or medium-term prices at current levels.

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