Today, the NAHB finished four days worth of talks with Chilean government, trade, and industry officials where all parties discussed the possibilities of increasing Chilean softwood lumber and wood product exports the the U.S. NAHB NOW reports that during the talks, NAHB officials made contacts with several prominent Chilean lumber producers and many smaller companies "who all indicated they will work together with their government to help increase exports."
“We support opening up competition in the U.S. lumber market because we know that it will benefit American families who want to buy homes and U.S. builders who are seeking a steady supply of affordably priced lumber,” said NAHB CEO Jerry Howard.
Though talks with Chile could lead to a favorable softwood lumber agreement, the U.S. discussions with Canada are not going as well. The two nations have been debating a new softwood lumber agreement for months, since the last agreement expired in October. The deadline to reach a new agreement is Oct. 12. After that date, both Canada and the U.S. will be able to levy trade disputes.
The NAHB, however, "sees great potential for growth [in Chile] because [it and the U.S] have a free trade agreement:"
“As the U.S. housing recovery continues to pick up steam, the demand for softwood lumber will grow,” said Howard. “This is why expanding lumber trade with Chile can benefit both nations. Chile would have the opportunity to increase its exports and market share to the United States, while U.S. industries such as housing that depend on a reliable supply of softwood lumber would be able to meet the housing needs of American consumers and to keep lumber and housing affordable.”