Jerry Konter, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Savannah, Ga., issued the following statement regarding U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai’s recent visit to Canada to discuss the U.S.-Canada trade relationship with her counterpart Mary Ng, Canada’s minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development:
“It is extremely disappointing that the issue of tariffs on Canadian lumber shipments into the U.S. appeared to be dismissed by U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai when she recently visited her Canadian counterpart in Ottawa for high-level trade talks. The U.S. is in the midst of a housing affordability crisis fueled in part by lumber tariffs that are acting as a tax on American home buyers and contributing to unprecedented lumber price volatility that is raising the cost of housing.
“This is an issue that should be at the forefront of bilateral trade talks and Canada has clearly expressed an interest to resolve this urgent matter. The U.S. must make it a priority to move immediately to negotiate a new softwood lumber trade agreement with Canada that will eliminate tariffs and help the economy recover from the disruptions of the past year.”