Mary Ng, Canada’s top trade official, expressed a strong willingness and desire to engage in negotiations with the United States on a new softwood lumber trade agreement during a video conference meeting yesterday with NAHB CEO Jerry Howard and senior staff.
The Canadian trade minister met with her U.S. counterpart, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, on July 6 and raised the issue of U.S. tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber and the importance of keeping interconnected supply chains open.
The United States is currently imposing 9% tariffs on Canadian lumber shipments into the country and a preliminary decision by the U.S. Commerce Department could result in the tariffs doubling to 18.32% by this fall. NAHB has been urging the Biden administration to move quickly to resume trade talks and has always opposed tariffs on Canadian lumber that exacerbate price volatility and raise housing costs.
Howard testified before Congress on July 14 and said: “Regarding the current lumber crisis, the U.S. must immediately engage with Canada to adopt a new softwood lumber agreement and stop the imposition of harmful tariffs on Canadian lumber.”
NAHB’s meeting with Minister Ng was a positive step forward and we will continue to urge the administration to return to the negotiating table with Canada and hammer out a new softwood lumber trade agreement that will end tariffs and help restore price stability to the lumber market.