Posted September 12, 2018

Senators seek fair resolution of lumber trade dispute

A dozen Republican and Democratic senators join the NAHB in joint letter to White House.

In an effort spearheaded by NAHB, a dozen Republican and Democratic members of the U.S. Senate on Sept. 11 sent a joint letter to the Trump administration calling on the U.S. to resume softwood lumber trade negotiations with Canada.

The 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement expired Oct. 12, 2015. As the Senate letter noted, “With no follow-on agreement in place and new tariffs being imposed averaging just over 20%, lumber prices have skyrocketed, hitting an all-time high in June of this year.”

Therefore, senators are calling on the U.S. to negotiate with Canada in a renewed effort to reach a new softwood lumber agreement.

At NAHB’s urging, 171 bipartisan members of the House sent a similar letter to the administration in June seeking a resumption of the lumber trade talks.

The Senate letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer does not take sides in this trade dispute. It simply highlights the need to come to an equitable solution that will satisfy all sides.

“It is our hope that in negotiating a new agreement with Canada, you will take into account not only the impact of price fluctuations on the domestic lumber industry, but also on those secondary industries and consumers that rely on softwood lumber for their economic well-being,” the letter stated. “This will ensure the entire United States economy is taken into consideration.”

The following senators signed onto the letter:

  • Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.)
  • Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.)
  • Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)
  • Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.)
  • Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.)
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)
  • Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.)
  • Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.)
  • Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.)
  • Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)
  • Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.)
  • Sen. Michael Rounds (R-S.D.)

Click here to read the letter.