With the strong support of NAHB, Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) on July 18 sent a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai urging the Biden administration to prioritize lumber trade to reduce housing costs.
"The sharp increase in softwood lumber prices, on top of high inflation and supply chain challenges, has only further added to residential construction costs," the senators wrote.
In January 2022, the Department of Commerce issued a preliminary determination to reduce tariffs on softwood lumber shipments from Canada to the United States from 17.99% to 11.64% but the tariff reductions have yet to be implemented.
Thune and Menendez urged Raimondo to move swiftly to implement the tariff reductions "to make home construction and homeownership more affordable for communities across our country."
The lawmakers also encouraged the administration to prioritize a new softwood lumber agreement between the United States and Canada to "provide greater market stability for the U.S. housing industry and ease the burden of housing costs for all Americans."
"NAHB commends Sens. Thune and Menendez for making lumber tariff relief a top priority to alleviate unprecedented lumber price volatility that has added more than $14,000 to the price of a new home since the start of the pandemic," said NAHB Chairman Jerry Konter. "We continue to work with federal policymakers on the lumber front and to encourage the administration to negotiate a new softwood lumber agreement with Canada that will eliminate tariffs and help ease the nation’s housing affordability crisis."
View the Thune-Menendez letter to Secretary Raimondo and Ambassador Tai.