Lumber trade war slaughtering US construction industry

The National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) is not happy with President Donald Trump’s steep tariffs on Canadian lumber which are killing the construction industry, according to NAHB CEO Jerry Howard. 

“It’s ludicrous that a neighboring country like Canada is not being able to import into our country,” Howard told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney on “Varney & Co.” on Monday. “We are importing lumber from Russia to build our American homes – it just doesn’t make sense.”

The Trump administration announced tariffs on Canadian lumber last April, which has caused the price of lumber to increase 25% from a year ago and 60% from two years ago, according to Howard.

“It’s very, very difficult for our builders absorb that kind of an increase,” he said.

The construction industry is still in recovery mode from the recession and while demand is up, the industry still has a ways to go.

“We are still only at about 66% capacity,” Howard said.

The tariffs have also created availability issues.

“Because of these tariffs lumber coming across the border from Canada is coming at a slower pace and it’s really holding up the construction process, which also adds to the cost,” Howard said.