In a move that will raise housing costs and price countless American households out of the housing market, the Commerce Department on June 26 imposed a preliminary 6.87% anti-dumping duty on Canadian lumber imports on top of the 19.88% countervailing duties announced in April.
In an official statement, NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald said that the combined duties are “basically another tax on American home builders and home buyers that will jeopardize affordable housing in America.”
The 19.88% countervailing duty is intended to compensate for government subsidies that Canadian firms allegedly receive, while the 6.87% anti-dumping duty is intended to bridge a supposed gap between the price that Canadian lumber producers are selling lumber in the U.S. and the “fair market price” determined by the Department of Commerce. Combined, the two duties impose a 26.75% total tariff on Canadian lumber imported into the U.S.
In an Eye on Housing blog post, NAHB senior economist Paul Emrath discusses the impact the duties will have on the housing market and the economy. The analysis shows that the tariffs would boost lumber costs by 8.8% for U.S. consumers and add $1,700 to the cost of a typical single-family home.
Further, the annual effects of this tariff in 2017 include a loss of:
- 11,336 full-time U.S. jobs
- $685.5 million in wages and salaries for U.S. workers
- $481.8 million in taxes and other revenue for governments in the U.S.
These losses of wages, jobs and taxes are net losses that take into account the increases in wages, jobs and taxes in the domestic sawmill industry. The reduction in jobs is not limited to the construction industry: Jobs are also lost in businesses that sell and transport building materials, provide architecture and engineering services, etc.