As rising lumber prices continue to impact the construction industry, the National Lumber and Building Materials Dealer Association (NLBMDA) is continuing to push the White House for solutions. The NLBMDA submitted written comments to the Senate Committee on Finance and House Committee on Ways and Means urging the Biden administration and Congress to prioritize and resolve the ongoing softwood lumber dispute with Canada.
The association called on U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to return to the negotiating table with Canada and sign a new Softwood Lumber Agreement that would bring “long-term certainty and stability” to the lumber market. The association is urging Congress to press the Biden administration on the status of negotiations in the coming weeks.
While noting trade barriers are not the primary cause of price volatility, the NLBMDA said it remains concerned about the impact on barriers to a free market, such as duties, are having on the North American lumber market. The softwood lumber dispute is seen as particularly urgent given recent research suggesting the significant impact soaring lumber prices are having on affordability. Estimates from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) suggest lumber prices have increased 300% since April 2020, causing a $36,000 increase to the average price of a new single-family home.
The NLBMDA will be meeting with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo’s chief counselor to discuss the association’s concerns for the LBM industry. The association sent a letter to the Department of Commerce in March reiterating members’ concerns about price volatility and underscoring the importance of pursuing a new Softwood Lumber Agreement with Canada. Additionally, the NLBMDA hosted LBM Advocacy Week, allowing dealers to meet virtually with members of Congress, and created a grassroots action alert, allowing members to easily contact their elected officials in Congress.