The U.S. Department of Commerce has announced additional tariffs on four Canadian companies that export softwood lumber to the U.S. The move could raise the cost of building new homes in this country, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

The duties, which will range from 4.59 to 7.72 percent, are being applied to Canfor, Resolute, Tolko and West Fraser. All other Canadian softwood lumber exporters will pay a rate of 6.87 percent.

“This latest action by the Commerce Department to impose anti-dumping duties of up to more than 7 percent on Canadian lumber shipments into the U.S. is basically another tax on American home builders and home buyers that will jeopardize affordable housing in America,” said NAHB chair Granger MacDonald, a home builder and developer from Kerrville, Texas. “Adding this new tariff to the proposed 20 percent countervailing lumber duty that the Trump administration slapped on imports of lumber this spring means that total tariffs would be a whopping 27 percent. Given that lumber is a major component in new home construction, the combined duties will harm housing affordability and price countless American households out of the housing market.”

Canada supplies about a third of the lumber needed in the U.S.

Monday’s announcement comes in the wake of countervailing duties placed on Canadian softwood lumber imports in April. Those tariffs ranged from 3.02 percent to 24.12 percent and were levied against five Canadian timber producers (Canfor, J.D. Irving, Resolute, Tolko and West Fraser). Other companies in Canada are paying a tariff of 19.88 percent. Combined countervailing and anti-dumping duties for Canadian imports now range from 17.41 percent to 30.88 percent.

Also on Monday, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced that softwood lumber products produced in the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island could be excluded from the tariffs. A final determination on all countervailing and anti-dumping duties is expected by September 6.

Lumber prices have increased over the past year as the softwood lumber dispute has heated up. For example, the Random Lengths Framing Lumber Composite price is now $397 per thousand board feet, an increase of 14 percent over the past year.

“Despite the latest duties announcement from the Department of Commerce, NLBMDA continues to call for a new long-term softwood lumber agreement,” said Jonathan Paine, president and CEO of the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA). “Predictability and stability is needed for the housing industry, and the two countries should continue negotiating until a new agreement is reached.”

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