WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is looking to double tariffs on Canadian lumber.
The White House first announced the possibility of raising tariffs back in May of 2021. The idea is to raise tariffs on lumber from Canada from 9-percent to 18-percent, in order to “level the playing field” because of what the administration calls unfair trading practices by Canada.
As there is with a lot of items today, there is also a lumber shortage that dates back to the pandemic. The shortages are forcing the cost of building new homes to go up, according to a statement written in May by Chuck Fowke, the chairman of the National Association of Home Builders.
“If the administration’s decision to double tariffs is allowed to go into effect, it will further exacerbate the nation’s housing affordability crisis, put even more upward pressure on the price of lumber, and force millions of U.S. home buyers and lumber consumers to foot the bill for this ill-conceived protectionist action,” Fowke said.
“Things have been happening for a while and it’s bad policy at the federal level that caused a lot of interests to move overseas and now we have supply chain issues,” said Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN) to Indy Politics. “Now the Biden administration wants to double tariffs on lumber from Canada.”
The Trump administration raised tariffs on Canadian lumber to 20-percent in 2017 as part of his sweep of tariff increases but lowered those tariffs to their current level of 9-percent in 2020 during the pandemic.
Spartz said now is the worst possible time to raise those tariffs again.
“That is the worst time when we already have an increase in prices,” she said. “It’s just strange for me to see when we have all these challenges we put more bad laws and policies into place.”
U.S wood producers are actually in favor of the proposed increases.
“A level playing field is a critical element for continued investment and growth for U.S. lumber manufacturing to meet strong building demand to build more American homes,” said Jason Brochu, U.S. Lumber Coalition Co-Chair and Co-President of Pleasant River Lumber Company in a news release.