With lumber prices rising steadily since June 2019, a preliminary decision by the U.S. Department of Commerce to reduce duties by August on shipments of Canadian lumber into the United States is good news for home builders and home buyers.
The decision comes on the heels of the September NAFTA panel decision that found the U.S. International Trade Commission did not meet its obligations under U.S. law when it calculated countervailing and antidumping duties on Canadian softwood lumber. NAHB participated as an amicus in support of Canada’s challenge of the duties.
Currently, duties average more than 20% on Canadian lumber shipments into the United States. After conducting an administrative review, the Department of Commerce has issued a proposal in the Federal Register that could lower the countervailing and antidumping duties to just over 8%. A final determination will be made in August.
This latest development on the tariff front comes at a particularly opportune time, with the Random Lengths Framing Composite Price hitting $388 per thousand board feet on Jan. 31, the highest level since October 2018 and up more than 20% since last May.
Lower tariffs would mitigate uncertainty and associated volatility that has plagued the marketplace, which could help ease upward price pressure on lumber prices.
A recovering housing market is helping to fuel the increase in lumber prices. U.S. housing production in December hit 1.6 million units on a seasonally adjusted annual basis, the highest level since December 2006.
Learn more about how tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber are impacting American builders. Or contact NAHB’s staff member listed on this page.