ABMA Meets With USTR on Softwood Lumber

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On Tuesday, ABMA met with lead staff at the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to discuss the current state of play regarding negotiations to forge a new Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) with Canada. In short, USTR reaffirmed what we heard from the Department of Commerce (DOC) earlier this year – that negotiations are at a standstill. While public pronouncements from Canadian political leadership suggest a desire to come to the table, staff indicates that their counterparts north of the border are not serious about having a substantive dialogue.

ABMA Wraps Up First Year, Makes Plans for Year Two

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The ABMA Legislative Committee met on Thursday, August 25th. Our Government Affairs Associate Pat Rita gave an update on our priority issues. We will be conducting a grassroots campaign to get Senate support for the Employer Directed Skills Act (HR6255) so we can hopefully get a Senate version introduced before the end of the year. We are taking similar action on the LICENSE Act (HR6567/S3556) in an attempt to get cosponsors before the end of 2022, so be on the lookout for an action alert in early September.

Ambassador Katherine Tai Says Softwood Lumber Agreement US Priority

When Ambassador Katherine Tai met with Canada’s Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business, and Economic Development, Mary Ng last week, she reiterated that the unfair playing field in softwood lumber is an important priority for the United States.

When Ambassador Katherine Tai met with Canada’s Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business, and Economic Development, Mary Ng last week, she reiterated that the unfair playing field in softwood lumber is an important priority for the United States.

ABMA Meets with Senator Susan Collins Re: Canadian Softwood Lumber Agreement

Today, ABMA Committee members and members of the Retail Lumber Dealers Association of Maine (RLDAM) met with Senator Susan Collins and her staff to advocate for a US-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA). The most recent SLA expired in 2015. The lack of an agreement is contributing to the country’s rising and unpredictable lumber prices via high US tariffs, which in turn are contributing to affordable housing issues and fewer Canadian exports.

Today, ABMA Committee members and members of the Retail Lumber Dealers Association of Maine (RLDAM) met with Senator Susan Collins and her staff to advocate for a US-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA). The most recent SLA expired in 2015. The lack of an agreement is contributing to the country’s rising and unpredictable lumber prices via high US tariffs, which in turn are contributing to affordable housing issues and fewer Canadian exports.

ABMA Tackles Softwood Lumber Agreement Strategy

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On Thursday, April 28th, the ABMA Legislative Committee met virtually to receive a congressional briefing from our Government Affairs Associate Pat Rita, specifically detailing the revival of Build Back Better (BBB) and the Congressional Career and Technical Education (CTE) Taskforce. Afterwards, ABMA Legislative & Regulatory Affairs Coordinator Julianna Rauf updated the committee on ABMA Advocacy Week and upcoming events. Lastly, new business took place among ABMA Director of Legislative & Regulatory Affairs Kirk Ives and ABMA Legislative Committee Member Sara Belletete.

ABMA Meeting on Softwood Lumber

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On Thursday, April 21, ABMA met with Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy & Negotiations of the International Trade Administration (ITA) Ryan Majerus and his team to discuss the status of a new Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA). After a brief round of introductions, the meeting took off via a Q&A format. As a new SLA has been a priority for the lumber and building materials (LBM) industry since its expiration in 2015, ABMA members were eager to express its importance and ask questions regarding next steps.

Commerce Reduces Canadian Lumber Tariffs

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In an email on Tuesday, February 1st, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced a review of reducing countervailing and antidumping duties on Canadian softwood lumber to 11.64%. This news follows after the U.S. raised rates on Canadian softwood lumber imports to 17.9% in November 2021, nearly double what it was previously.

Still No Path Forward on BBB

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President Biden’s signature legislation remains stalled in the U.S. Senate with no clear path forward in the foreseeable future. The House-passed measure lacks the 50 votes necessary to clear the upper chamber under budget reconciliation rules. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has been the most outspoken Democrat opposing the comprehensive bill, asserting that spending in the package would further drive up inflation, among other things. Those concerns were amplified this week when the Bureau of Labor Statistics released inflation data Wednesday showing that the consumer price index hit a four decade high of 7 percent in December compared to a year ago.

Softwood Lumber Congressional Letter

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Concerned about how the impact of increased tariffs on Canadian imports will impact lumber prices and overall construction costs, Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) sent a bipartisan letter Monday to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, signed by 84 representatives.

Curtis Lumber Hosts Rep. Stefanik

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On Tuesday, December 14, Curtis Lumber of Ballston Spa, NY hosted Representative Elise Stefanik (NY District 21) in its corporate office for a private legislative event. At the event, Rep. Stefanik introduced the proposed Employer Directed Skills Act which will “empower job creators to determine the skills their workforce needs, streamline the process for workers to access skills development, and leverage private sector investments to make employers a stakeholder in the reskilling process.”

ABMA Opposes Softwood Tariff Hike

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The United States Department of Commerce announced late last week that they would proceed with an administrative review to increase the tariffs on Canadian lumber shipments from 9% to 17.9%.

Softwood Lumber Subsidies and Forest Products Legislation

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In the October 8 edition of the Federal Register, a notice was published by the Department of Commerce seeking comment on existing softwood lumber subsidies in competing countries. Under the Softwood Lumber Act of 2008, the Secretary of Commerce is required to submit a report to Congress every six months on any subsidy–including stumpage subsidies–provided by countries exporting softwood lumber or softwood lumber products to the United States. Commerce submitted its last subsidy report to Congress on June 30, 2021.

ABMA Legislative Committee Update

ABMA Committee Meeting

On August 26, 2021, the ABMA Federal Legislative Committee held its inaugural meeting to approve the Committee Charter, establish preliminary priority issues, and receive a Capitol Hill update from our Government Affairs Associate Pat Rita.