Canadian Softwood Lumber

American home builders need reasonably priced lumber to build homes that average working families can afford.

However, U.S. domestic production is not sufficient to meet demand. That's why NAHB is working with the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to clear the regulatory hurdles that constrain domestic lumber production.

In 2017, the United States consumed 47.6 billion board feet of softwood lumber while producing only 33.9 billion board feet. That’s a shortfall of 13.7 billion board feet. Nearly one-third of the lumber consumed in the U.S. last year was imported, and approximately 93% of the imports came from Canada. Annual domestic production has not met demand even once during the last 50 years.

Why It Matters

Today's record high lumber prices are harming home builders and home buyers. Since January 2017, rising lumber prices – made worse by 20 percent tariffs on imported Canadian softwood lumber – have increased the price of an average single-family home by nearly $9,000. 

The tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber are acting as a tax on American home builders and home buyers, making housing less affordable for American families and forcing builders to look overseas to other markets, including Sweden, Germany and Russia, in order to meet demand.

That is why it is imperative that the Trump administration resumes talks with Canada to find a long-term solution to the trade dispute that will ensure American home builders and consumers have access to a reliable supply of softwood lumber at reasonable prices.

At NAHB's urging, 171 House members sent a letter to the administration urging the United States to resume softwood lumber trade negotiations with Canada. Read the letter

Now it's the Senate's turn. Urge your U.S. senators to sign a letter to the Administration demanding action.


America cannot meet the nation’s demand for softwood lumber, therefore, NAHB believes the following steps should be taken:

  • Rescind the lumber duties and negotiate a settlement to address American home builder concerns regarding price and availability of lumber. NAHB is meeting with representatives of the Trump administration and Congress, as well as Canadian federal and provincial officials, to achieve this goal.
  • Boost domestic production by seeking higher targets for timber sales from publicly-owned lands and opening up additional federal forest lands for logging in an environmentally sustainable manner.
  • Reduce U.S. lumber exports. Domestic producers are selling abroad to China and other international clients in order to increase profits. Exporting timber should be discouraged when there is a gaping need at home.
  • Seek out new markets to reduce our nation’s reliance on Canadian lumber imports and make up for our domestic shortfall. NAHB met with Chilean government, trade and industry officials that focused on increasing exports of softwood lumber to America. Other potential markets include Brazil.

See the latest on Canadian softwood lumber at NAHBNow.


Felicia Watson
Alex Strong