Dave Farley | dfarley@bcwood.com

A few comments suggestions and ideas…

With the continued softwood lumber dispute and the US Commerce Department recently setting an average 21% duty on dimension lumber, I thought I would sample the opinions of some of the US builders that I work with to see how the Countervailing Duty (CVD) is impacting their businesses.

It won’t be a great surprise to Canadians that our Southern neighbors don’t pay too much attention to what’s happening North of the border. While most were aware of the duty, many were uninformed as to how it impacted their bottom line. One builder in San Francisco commented that they were so busy, that they were having a hard time just keeping up, but they were noticing price increases across the board from all their suppliers.

Another builder from Big Sky, Montana, knew that the CVD was adding costs and impacting his bottom line but suggested that it was the role of his regional chapter of the NAHB to “deal with the political issues” so that he could focus on meeting demand.

Finally, I spoke to a builder on the Big Island of Hawaii, who, like his counterparts on the mainland, is “smoking busy”; however, he has concerns regardings the price increase that he is seeing on Western Red Cedar. WRC is a popular species in the Hawaiian market due to its ability to withstand the elements and its termite resistance. His comment was that he thought it was a “dispute over 2x4s and not specialty products like cedar where you can only get from a few places in the world.” Like his counterparts, he expects his local Builders Associations to represent his interests. The difference is, he is being proactive, having already contacted representatives from the BIA Hawaii voicing his concerns.

All the builders hoped for a quick resolution to the dispute, but cautioned with a strong housing market and the protectionist political climate, that the CVD was likely to be around till at least the next election cycle.

For more information on the US market please contact me at dfarley@bcwood.com.