Housing costs would decrease under prioritized lumber trade, reduced tariffs, says Thune - Ripon Advance

2022-07-21 01:24:30 By : Mr. Jin Korea

Lumber tariff relief must be prioritized by the Biden administration to make home construction and homeownership more affordable for communities across America, according to U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-SD).

Specifically, an expeditious reduction of tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber into the United States and a new softwood lumber agreement between the two countries would mark significant progress toward providing greater stability and affordability for the U.S. housing community, wrote Sen. Thune and U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) in a July 18 letter sent to U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai. 

The Commerce Department on Jan. 31 issued a preliminary determination in its third administrative review to reduce tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber into the U.S. from a rate of 17.9 percent to 11.64 percent. While a welcome step, Sen. Thune and his colleague urged swift implementation of the tariff reductions by the department.

Additionally, American home builders, home buyers and renters would benefit from a new softwood lumber agreement since the 2006 lumber agreement between the U.S. and Canada expired on Oct. 12, 2015, and has not yet been renewed, according to the senators’ letter.

“The sharp increase in softwood lumber prices, on top of high inflation and supply chain challenges, has only further added to residential construction costs,” wrote Sen. Thune and his colleague. “Addressing lumber trade inefficiencies would help reduce unnecessary financial pressures on the U.S. housing market, and we urge the U.S. Trade Representative to prioritize a new softwood lumber agreement between America and Canada.”

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