On November 24, 2021, the United States Department of Commerce announced anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Canadian softwood lumber producers, by doubling tariffs to 17.9% on their imports, more than twice the previously imposed rate of 8.9%. The actions were the final determination in the second administrative review of softwood lumber imports from Canada.

The strong action taken by the Commerce Department to enforce the U.S. trade laws against unfair government-subsidized Canadian lumber imports will only encourage further investment in U.S. sawmills, resulting in increased production of lumber which has already resulted in increased domestic production to meet the demands of America’s housing market.

“By increasing these tariffs, more softwood lumber will be produced in the United States supporting the U.S. lumber market, private forest landowners and local communities,” said Scott Jones, CEO of the Forest Landowners Association. “These tariffs essentially level the playing field for U.S. timber growers against unfairly traded, subsidized Canadian lumber – pushing lumber suppliers to support the U.S. economy.”

According to the U.S. Lumber Coalition, U.S. sawmill investment and capacity expansion has been robust since the filing of the trade cases by the Coalition in 2016, resulting in an additional 17.5 billion board feet of lumber through 2021, averaging 3.5 billion a year – enough to build approximately 1.2 million single-family American homes. This increased lumber production more than offsets any decline in lumber supply from the unfairly traded Canadian imports being affected by the increased tariffs.

“Despite the narrative being circulated that this tariff increase will result in significantly higher prices for American homeowners and builders, the evidence simply does not support this story,” added Jones. “The domestic wood supply is strong, and enforcement of these tariffs allows continued investment and growth of our nation’s timber growers.”

FLA members represent the core of America’s private and family forest landowners that specifically manage their forest for timber and contribute more than 80% of the domestic wood supply.  But, in order to continue to do so, our members need strong markets for their timber.

The bottom line: imposing increased tariffs on imported Canadian lumber, supports the U.S. lumber industry and the private forest landowner, has low impact on the American housing market and ensures that homes in America are built with wood produced right here, in the U.S.

FLA praises the U.S. Lumber Coalition’s efforts in addressing Canada’s unfair softwood lumber trade practices, including its gross underpricing of timber.

FLA will continue to advocate against trade imbalances that disadvantage our members as timber producers.

Read more about this issue and FLA’s action.

Q&A with Robert Crosby | Why do Landowners Need a Softwood Lumber Agreement with Canada?