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U.S. Efforts to Restart Discussions on Canadian Softwood Lumber Trade Welcomed by Consumers Who Remain Opposed to Any Co…
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U.S. Efforts to Restart Discussions on Canadian Softwood Lumber Trade Welcomed by Consumers Who Remain Opposed to Any Co…

- Current 27 percent countervailing and antidumping duties harm consumers and have a negative impact on housing affordability in the U.S. - Canada urged to continue - not suspend or drop - appeals at WTO and NAFTA panels as an opportunity to win free trade in lumber - Consumer, lumber users' opinions should be considered by Commerce Department WASHINGTON, Jan. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Representatives of U.S. consumer interests welcomed efforts by the Commerce Department announced yesterday to seek a long-term solution to the prolonged and complex dispute with Canada over softwood lumber imports. American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH), an alliance of 18 large national organizations and companies representing more than 95 percent of U.S. lumber consumption, said however that it remains opposed to imposing any border measures -- import or export taxes or quotas -- that only end up harming consumers. The Commerce Department imposed 27 percent countervailing and antidumping duties on lumber imports last summer, duties that consumers consider a federally imposed sales tax on lumber that harms homebuyers and impacts housing affordability in the U.S. The duties were imposed at the urging of a few large U.S. producers, led by International Paper, Potlatch, Plum Creek, Sierra Pacific, Temple Inland, and southern land owners forming the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports, alleging that they had been harmed by Canadian softwood lumber, based on a perceived threat to the industry, although no evidence of actual injury was found. "The new Commerce Department initiative, in the form of policy bulletins dictating forest practice changes the U.S. wants Canada to make, is certainly welcomed to restart discussions and seek a resolution to this issue" said Susan Petniunas, spokesperson for ACAH. "However, we remain opposed to any efforts to tax U.S. lumber consumers, including import or export taxes." "The U.S. requires at least a third of its lumber in the form of imports, and Canada is the best source for it," she said. "We should move to free and open markets between our two countries." In the policy draft, Commerce Undersecretary Grant Aldonas said he would seek input from lumber producers. "It is equally important that he also seek input from those who use lumber and consumer interests, something that ACAH will aggressively pursue," Petniunas said. Petniunas said that recent proposals by Seattle-based forest producer Weyerhaeuser, the British Columbia government, and the British Columbia forestry industry association also are each a long way from relieving the burden of the lumber dispute on consumers. "Some of these proposals call for Canada to drop or suspend its appeals of the U.S. countervail and antidumping duties before the World Trade Organization and the North America Free Trade Agreement panels," she said. "We believe that would be a significant error on the part of Canada. Canada has already won major decisions earlier this year, and we are convinced that if the appeals are allowed to conclude in a timely manner, Canada will win again. This is the best route to free trade in lumber, and we hope Canada will resist any temptation to stop those appeals, even if it does hold discussions or look at interim measures." She noted that the Commerce proposal clearly indicates that it is aware of the roles the appeal processes play in an eventual solution to the problem, and that the ACAH believes that one reason Commerce is pushing for a solution now is because it too believes it will continue to lose in the WTO and NAFTA. "Unfortunately, the Coalition's attempt to fix prices backfired, and lumber prices have dropped significantly," Petniunas added. "All they have succeeded in doing is creating great volatility in the market once again, and to continue their negative impact on housing affordability." "The final 27 percent countervailing and antidumping duties on finished lumber for framing homes and remodeling, even at lower lumber prices, may increase the average cost of a new home by as much as $1,000," she said. "Based on information from the U.S. Census Bureau, that additional $1,000 prevents as many as 300,000 families from qualifying for home mortgages." Consumers have some strong support on Capitol Hill. More than 100 members of the U.S. House and Senate have signed resolutions or written letters to President George W. Bush over the past two years, indicating their support for free trade in lumber, and urging no new taxes or penalties on consumers. Industries that depend on lumber as an input and that oppose import restrictions include: manufacturers of value-added wood products, lumber dealers, manufactured and on-site home builders, and remodeling contractors and individuals. These industries employ more than 6.5 million workers, 25 to one when compared with those in the forestry industry. Members of ACAH include: American Homeowners Grassroots Alliance, Catamount Pellet Fuel Corporation, CHEP International, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Consumers for World Trade, Free Trade Lumber Council, Fremont Forest Group Corporation, The Home Depot, International Mass Retail Association, International Sleep Products Association, Leggett & Platt Inc., Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, Manufactured Housing Institute, National Association of Home Builders, National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, National Retail Federation, and the United States Hispanic Contractors Association. SOURCE American Consumers for Affordable Homes

01/08/2003
U.S. Efforts to Restart Discussions on Canadian Softwood Lumber Trade Welcomed by Consumers Who Remain Opposed to Any Co…
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U.S. Efforts to Restart Discussions on Canadian Softwood Lumber Trade Welcomed by Consumers Who Remain Opposed to Any Co…

Representatives of U.S. consumer interests welcomed efforts by the Commerce Department announced yesterday to seek a long-term solution to the prolonged and complex dispute with Canada over softwood lumber imports. American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH), an alliance of 18 large national organizations and companies representing more than 95 percent of U.S. lumber consumption, said however that it remains opposed to imposing any border measures -- import or export taxes or quotas -- that only end up harming consumers. The Commerce Department imposed 27 percent countervailing and antidumping duties on lumber imports last summer, duties that consumers consider a federally imposed sales tax on lumber that harms homebuyers and impacts housing affordability in the U.S. The duties were imposed at the urging of a few large U.S. producers, led by International Paper, Potlatch, Plum Creek, Sierra Pacific, Temple Inland, and southern land owners forming the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports, alleging that they had been harmed by Canadian softwood lumber, based on a perceived threat to the industry, although no evidence of actual injury was found. "The new Commerce Department initiative, in the form of policy bulletins dictating forest practice changes the U.S. wants Canada to make, is certainly welcomed to restart discussions and seek a resolution to this issue" said Susan Petniunas, spokesperson for ACAH. "However, we remain opposed to any efforts to tax U.S. lumber consumers, including import or export taxes." "The U.S. requires at least a third of its lumber in the form of imports, and Canada is the best source for it," she said. "We should move to free and open markets between our two countries." In the policy draft, Commerce Undersecretary Grant Aldonas said he would seek input from lumber producers. "It is equally important that he also seek input from those who use lumber and consumer interests, something that ACAH will aggressively pursue," Petniunas said. Petniunas said that recent proposals by Seattle-based forest producer Weyerhaeuser, the British Columbia government, and the British Columbia forestry industry association also are each a long way from relieving the burden of the lumber dispute on consumers. "Some of these proposals call for Canada to drop or suspend its appeals of the U.S. countervail and antidumping duties before the World Trade Organization and the North America Free Trade Agreement panels," she said. "We believe that would be a significant error on the part of Canada. Canada has already won major decisions earlier this year, and we are convinced that if the appeals are allowed to conclude in a timely manner, Canada will win again. This is the best route to free trade in lumber, and we hope Canada will resist any temptation to stop those appeals, even if it does hold discussions or look at interim measures." She noted that the Commerce proposal clearly indicates that it is aware of the roles the appeal processes play in an eventual solution to the problem, and that the ACAH believes that one reason Commerce is pushing for a solution now is because it too believes it will continue to lose in the WTO and NAFTA. "Unfortunately, the Coalition's attempt to fix prices backfired, and lumber prices have dropped significantly," Petniunas added. "All they have succeeded in doing is creating great volatility in the market once again, and to continue their negative impact on housing affordability." "The final 27 percent countervailing and antidumping duties on finished lumber for framing homes and remodeling, even at lower lumber prices, may increase the average cost of a new home by as much as $1,000," she said. "Based on information from the U.S. Census Bureau, that additional $1,000 prevents as many as 300,000 families from qualifying for home mortgages." Consumers have some strong support on Capitol Hill. More than 100 members of the U.S. House and Senate have signed resolutions or written letters to President George W. Bush over the past two years, indicating their support for free trade in lumber, and urging no new taxes or penalties on consumers. Industries that depend on lumber as an input and that oppose import restrictions include: manufacturers of value-added wood products, lumber dealers, manufactured and on-site home builders, and remodeling contractors and individuals. These industries employ more than 6.5 million workers, 25 to one when compared with those in the forestry industry. Members of ACAH include: American Homeowners Grassroots Alliance, Catamount Pellet Fuel Corporation, CHEP International, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Consumers for World Trade, Free Trade Lumber Council, Fremont Forest Group Corporation, The Home Depot, International Mass Retail Association, International Sleep Products Association, Leggett & Platt Inc., Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, Manufactured Housing Institute, National Association of Home Builders, National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, National Retail Federation, and the United States Hispanic Contractors Association.

01/08/2003
U.S. Efforts to Restart Discussions on Canadian Softwood Lumber Trade Welcomed by Consumers Who Remain Opposed to Any Co…
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U.S. Efforts to Restart Discussions on Canadian Softwood Lumber Trade Welcomed by Consumers Who Remain Opposed to Any Co…

Representatives of U.S. consumer interests welcomed efforts by the Commerce Department announced yesterday to seek a long-term solution to the prolonged and complex dispute with Canada over softwood lumber imports. American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH), an alliance of 18 large national organizations and companies representing more than 95 percent of U.S. lumber consumption, said however that it remains opposed to imposing any border measures -- import or export taxes or quotas -- that only end up harming consumers. The Commerce Department imposed 27 percent countervailing and antidumping duties on lumber imports last summer, duties that consumers consider a federally imposed sales tax on lumber that harms homebuyers and impacts housing affordability in the U.S. The duties were imposed at the urging of a few large U.S. producers, led by International Paper, Potlatch, Plum Creek, Sierra Pacific, Temple Inland, and southern land owners forming the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports, alleging that they had been harmed by Canadian softwood lumber, based on a perceived threat to the industry, although no evidence of actual injury was found. "The new Commerce Department initiative, in the form of policy bulletins dictating forest practice changes the U.S. wants Canada to make, is certainly welcomed to restart discussions and seek a resolution to this issue" said Susan Petniunas, spokesperson for ACAH. "However, we remain opposed to any efforts to tax U.S. lumber consumers, including import or export taxes." "The U.S. requires at least a third of its lumber in the form of imports, and Canada is the best source for it," she said. "We should move to free and open markets between our two countries." In the policy draft, Commerce Undersecretary Grant Aldonas said he would seek input from lumber producers. "It is equally important that he also seek input from those who use lumber and consumer interests, something that ACAH will aggressively pursue," Petniunas said. Petniunas said that recent proposals by Seattle-based forest producer Weyerhaeuser, the British Columbia government, and the British Columbia forestry industry association also are each a long way from relieving the burden of the lumber dispute on consumers. "Some of these proposals call for Canada to drop or suspend its appeals of the U.S. countervail and antidumping duties before the World Trade Organization and the North America Free Trade Agreement panels," she said. "We believe that would be a significant error on the part of Canada. Canada has already won major decisions earlier this year, and we are convinced that if the appeals are allowed to conclude in a timely manner, Canada will win again. This is the best route to free trade in lumber, and we hope Canada will resist any temptation to stop those appeals, even if it does hold discussions or look at interim measures." She noted that the Commerce proposal clearly indicates that it is aware of the roles the appeal processes play in an eventual solution to the problem, and that the ACAH believes that one reason Commerce is pushing for a solution now is because it too believes it will continue to lose in the WTO and NAFTA. "Unfortunately, the Coalition's attempt to fix prices backfired, and lumber prices have dropped significantly," Petniunas added. "All they have succeeded in doing is creating great volatility in the market once again, and to continue their negative impact on housing affordability." "The final 27 percent countervailing and antidumping duties on finished lumber for framing homes and remodeling, even at lower lumber prices, may increase the average cost of a new home by as much as $1,000," she said. "Based on information from the U.S. Census Bureau, that additional $1,000 prevents as many as 300,000 families from qualifying for home mortgages." Consumers have some strong support on Capitol Hill. More than 100 members of the U.S. House and Senate have signed resolutions or written letters to President George W. Bush over the past two years, indicating their support for free trade in lumber, and urging no new taxes or penalties on consumers. Industries that depend on lumber as an input and that oppose import restrictions include: manufacturers of value-added wood products, lumber dealers, manufactured and on-site home builders, and remodeling contractors and individuals. These industries employ more than 6.5 million workers, 25 to one when compared with those in the forestry industry. Members of ACAH include: American Homeowners Grassroots Alliance, Catamount Pellet Fuel Corporation, CHEP International, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Consumers for World Trade, Free Trade Lumber Council, Fremont Forest Group Corporation, The Home Depot, International Mass Retail Association, International Sleep Products Association, Leggett & Platt Inc., Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, Manufactured Housing Institute, National Association of Home Builders, National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, National Retail Federation, and the United States Hispanic Contractors Association.

01/08/2003
Trade Commission Urged to Focus on Consumers in Taking Action Related to Duties on Canadian Softwood Lumber
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Trade Commission Urged to Focus on Consumers in Taking Action Related to Duties on Canadian Softwood Lumber

- Senate Finance Committee asks ITC to examine building component industry competitiveness, effect of tariffs and other border measures on U.S. home building industry and homebuyers - Hidden federally imposed 27 percent sales tax through duties imposed on lumber from Canada places undue burden on new homebuyers, other users of lumber WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH) today called on the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to focus on how border taxes, quotas, price controls and other trade distorting measures, particularly the 27 percent duties recently imposed on Canadian lumber imports, are hurting consumers. The ITC today held hearings on the competitiveness of the U.S. structural building components industry, which includes structural beams, arches, trusses and other wood products needed for home construction. In response to a request for this assessment by Senators Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and the Senate Finance Committee, the ITC has surveyed home builders, lumber dealers and other interested parties on the market for U.S. wood for structural building components and non-wood substitutes, and its impact on U.S. production and housing construction. The Senate request for the study was issued under Section 332 of the Tariff Act of 1930. In connection with the study, Senators Baucus and Grassley also directed the ITC to examine the effect of tariffs and other border measures on the domestic home building industry and U.S. homebuyers. The most significant of these is the 27 percent countervailing and anti-dumping duties on Canadian lumber imports imposed by the U.S. Commerce Department last spring "While we believe this study can provide useful information about lumber users, we hope that the ITC also will take into consideration the burden placed on consumers forced to pay the 27 percent duties on Canadian lumber imports," said Susan Petniunas, ACAH spokesperson. "The impacts are not just on lumber users; the current duties amount to a federally imposed sales tax on new home construction, remodeling and other applications for lumber. It is a tax on home buyers and home owners." Petniunas pointed out that even though current lumber costs have dropped, the duties add to the instability and volatility of the housing market. "Without trade-distorting border taxes or other interferences such as quotas, the cost of lumber would be dictated by the free market, allowing for longer term stability," she added. "Removal of border taxes benefits lumber dealers, home builders and, ultimately, consumers and the economy." The review is a new and separate action from the countervailing and anti-dumping duty investigation conducted by the Department of Commerce and the ITC earlier this year. Following the investigation, the Senate Finance Committee will receive a report next April on the impact of imports on the domestic users of lumber, including homebuilders, lumber dealers, and manufactures of building components. The investigation also gives the ITC an opportunity to assess the true impact of the 27 percent tariffs on U.S. consumers. According to Petniunas, these duties are particularly devastating for consumers because the U.S. cannot produce sufficient lumber to meet its needs. Approximately one-third of its lumber for building homes must come from imports, primarily from Canada. "The 27 percent countervailing and anti-dumping duties imposed on finished lumber for framing homes and remodeling, can increase the average cost of a new home by as much as $1,000," she said. "Based on information from the U.S. Census Bureau, that additional $1,000 prevents as many as 300,000 families from qualifying for home mortgages." The impact on workers in the building trades and lumber-using jobs is another important factor that the ITC should consider in its investigation. Approximately six million U.S. workers are involved in lumber-using businesses, including homebuilders, remodelers, lumber dealers, and such industries as window, pallet and bed makers. "Workers associated with the consumers of lumber outnumber lumber-producing workers by 25 to 1 in the United States," Petniunas said. More than 100 members of the U.S. House and Senate have signed resolutions or written letters to President Bush over the past year, indicating their support for free trade in lumber, and urging no new taxes or penalties on consumers. This past summer, the World Trade Organization found that the Department of Commerce action imposing preliminary countervailing duties more than a year ago on Canadian softwood lumber imports was contrary to U.S. obligations under U.S. trade rules and should be overturned. Similar WTO challenges have been made by Canada on the final countervailing and anti-dumping duties imposed last spring. Challenges to the U.S. tariffs are also pending before dispute panels convened under the North American Free Trade Agreement. ACAH is an informal alliance opposed to any border measures or quotas on Canadian lumber imports Its members, who represent more than 95 percent of the domestic consumption of lumber, include American Homeowners Grassroots Alliance, Catamount Pellet Fuel Corporation, CHEP International, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Consumers for World Trade, Free Trade Lumber Council, Fremont Forest Group Corporation, The Home Depot, International Mass Retail Association, International Sleep Products Association, Leggett & Platt Inc., Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, Manufactured Housing Institute, National Association of Home Builders, National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, National Retail Federation, and the United States Hispanic Contractors Association.

12/05/2002
Trade Commission Urged to Focus on Consumers in Taking Action Related to Duties on Canadian Softwood Lumber
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Trade Commission Urged to Focus on Consumers in Taking Action Related to Duties on Canadian Softwood Lumber

American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH) today called on the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to focus on how border taxes, quotas, price controls and other trade distorting measures, particularly the 27 percent duties recently imposed on Canadian

12/05/2002
U.S. Consumer Groups Call Weyerhaeuser Proposal to Tax U.S. Lumber Consumers Up to 25 Percent 'The Wrong Idea At The Wro…
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U.S. Consumer Groups Call Weyerhaeuser Proposal to Tax U.S. Lumber Consumers Up to 25 Percent 'The Wrong Idea At The Wro…

An alliance of American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH), formed to oppose continued quotas or taxes on softwood lumber imports from Canada, today called a proposal from Steven R. Rogel, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Weyerhaeuser, the wrong idea at the wrong time. Rogel has proposed that the Canadian government impose a border tax of as much as 25 percent on lumber going into the U.S. Currently, the U.S. is imposing countervailing and antidumping duties of 27 percent on imports, which were implemented last May. "This is a wrong idea at the wrong time," said Susan Petniunas, spokesperson for ACAH. "Canada has won its cases several times in the past in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and under the North American Free Trade Agreement, and has already had significant victories this time. We believe that Canada will win again, and that it should pursue free trade and open markets in lumber between the U.S. and Canada." "ACAH believes that if the cases are handled expeditiously in the WTO and NAFTA, decisions should be announced within the next several months, possibly as early as February or March from NAFTA," Petniunas said. "If there are no appeals to drag the process out, a resolution to this lumber war can be achieved," Petniunas added. Because there are not enough trees available to produce lumber for home building in the U.S., Canadian lumber imports are absolutely vital for the construction of affordable new homes and to make improvements on existing homes in America. The U.S. relies on Canada and other sources for approximately a third of the lumber it needs. Led by International Paper, Potlatch, Plum Creek, Sierra Pacific, Temple Inland and southern landowners, the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports filed petitions with the U.S. Commerce Department more than a year ago alleging that domestic lumber producers had been harmed by Canadian softwood lumber imports and asking for countervailing and antidumping duties. The International Trade Commission approved the Commerce Department's action, and duties were imposed at the end of May. More than 110 members of the U.S. House and Senate have signed resolutions or have written letters to President Bush over the past year opposing duties and indicating their support for free trade in lumber between the U.S. and Canada. Workers in the lumber consuming business outnumber jobs in lumber production 25-1. The 27 percent duties already in place could add as much as $1,000 to the cost of a new home, and price as many as 300,000 families out of the housing market. ACAH has opposed those taxes. ACAH members represent more than 95 percent of the lumber consumption in the U.S. Members include American Homeowners Grassroots Alliance, Catamount Pellet Fuel Corporation, CHEP International, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Consumers for World Trade, Fremont Forest Group Corporation, Free Trade Lumber Council, The Home Depot, International Mass Retail Association, International Sleep Products Association, Leggett & Platt Inc., Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, Manufactured Housing Institute, National Association of Home Builders, National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, National Retail Federation, and the United States Hispanic Contractors Association.

11/20/2002
Congressional Resolutions Urge Bush: End 27 Percent Federal Tax On Canadian Lumber Imports Essential for Homes, Other Uses
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Congressional Resolutions Urge Bush: End 27 Percent Federal Tax On Canadian Lumber Imports Essential for Homes, Other Uses

- Consumers get stuck paying the bill while large U.S. forest companies pocket profits - Congress, Senate members seek free lumber trade, competitive North American market WASHINGTON, Oct. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Congressmen Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) and Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) have introduced an updated concurrent resolution calling on President George W. Bush to pursue discussions with the Canadian Government to "promote open trade between the United States and Canada on softwood lumber, free of trade restraints that harm consumers." The resolution aims to: * ensure a competitive North American market for softwood lumber; * ensure free trade regarding softwood lumber between the U.S. and Canada; * ensure all stakeholders are included in trade discussions of softwood lumber, a reference that specifically includes consumers who ultimately pay the increased costs of protectionist tariffs; * and calls for a fair and expeditious review by independent World Trade Organization (WTO) and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) panels. It also urges the U.S. government to abide by the decisions of these international trade agreements to which the U.S. has subscribed. A similar resolution has been introduced in the Senate. The WTO found this summer that the Department of Commerce action imposing countervailing duties a year ago on Canadian softwood lumber imports should be overturned, and is in violation of international trade rules. The U.S. has also recently suffered a major set-back in the WTO when it ruled that the Byrd Amendment that allows the U.S Government to pay duties it collects to "injured" U.S. companies in a countervail dispute is also a violation of international trade rules. Similar WTO challenges have been made by Canada on the antidumping duties and other aspects of the long-standing trade dispute between Canada and the U.S. The House resolution, H. Con. Res. 454, similar to one introduced in the Senate (S. Con. Res. 135) in August and supported by 12 members of the Senate, asks the Bush Administration not to intervene to impede the current challenges by Canada in the WTO and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to determine whether the U.S. countervailing and antidumping duties are legal under international trade rules. The resolutions ask that the process move expeditiously so that this issue can be resolved under international trade rules. "Softwood lumber is essential for building quality, affordable homes in the United States," said Cong. Hoyer. "Its price and availability have a major impact on the U.S. economy, workers and consumers. The U.S. home building industry employs approximately 6.5 million people." Hoyer noted that this compares to more than 25 jobs in the consumption of lumber for each job in U.S. forestry production. In May, the U.S. Commerce Department imposed massive countervailing and antidumping duties, equal to 27 percent of the product's volume, on softwood lumber. That decision was based solely on the hypothetical "threat of injury" with no proof of real injury to the U.S. forestry industry by Canadian imports. The duties are harming U.S. consumers, according to ACAH spokesperson Susan Petniunas. "The final 27 percent countervail and antidumping duties imposed last May on finished lumber for framing homes and remodeling, may increase the average cost of a new home by as much as $1,000," she said. Based on information from the U.S. Census Bureau, that additional $1,000 prevents as many as 300,000 families from qualifying for home mortgages." Cong. Kolbe said that the duties "are penalizing home buyers and other U.S. lumber consumers. It is wrong to penalize consumers when there is no significant proof that there has been any damage to the U.S. industry by the Canadian imports. This dispute has been going on for more than 20 years. The U.S. consumer suffers, while the U.S. government and industry have never been able to prove that the imports harm our domestic industry." The duties are opposed by a broad-based alliance of consumer groups, trade organizations, and companies that represent more than 95 percent of U.S. softwood lumber consumption, American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH). "The duties amount to a federally imposed 27 percent sales tax on first-time homebuyers and on seniors seeking to reduce home costs in retirement," said Petniunas. "Consumers' interests should be a major factor considered by the Administration, and we appreciate the members of the House and Senate urging President Bush to do so," Petniunas said. "These duties hurt our ability to provide affordable housing, and jobs within lumber consuming industries." Because there are not enough trees available to produce framing lumber for home building in the U.S., Canadian lumber imports are absolutely vital for the construction of affordable new homes, and to make improvements on existing homes in America. The U.S. relies on Canada and other sources for approximately 37 percent of the lumber it needs. Led by International Paper, Potlatch, Plum Creek, Sierra Pacific, Temple Inland and a group of southern landowners, the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports filed petitions with the U.S. Commerce Department more than a year ago alleging that domestic lumber producers had been harmed by Canadian softwood lumber imports and asking for countervailing and antidumping duties. "Since 1981, some of the large U.S. producers and landowners have periodically charged Canada with subsidizing its lumber industry, and they have consistently lost when Canada has appealed preliminary decisions," Petniunas said. "The summer WTO ruling, that there is no illegal subsidy of lumber by Canada, continues to show that the U.S. actions are not based on the facts. We believe the Commerce Department will continue to get failing grades from on-going WTO and NAFTA reviews of their actions over the past year. The madness should end, and the administration should sue for free trade in lumber with Canada." Similar resolutions were introduced in the U.S. House and Senate last year and also in the last session of Congress urging free trade on Canadian lumber. H. Con. Res. 45 and S. Con. Res. 4 garnered more than 110 sponsors earlier in the session. Members of the U.S. House and Senate also have written letters to President Bush over the past three years opposing any trade restrictions on Canadian lumber and indicating their support for free trade in lumber between the U.S. and Canada. "It's time for our trade policy to reflect fairness to all of the stakeholders, including consumers, specifically in discussions about trade in lumber," said Sen. Don Nickles (R-OK), lead sponsor of the Senate resolution. American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH) represents more than 95 percent of U.S. softwood consumption. Industries that depend on lumber as an input and that oppose import restrictions include: manufacturers of value-added wood products, lumber dealers, manufactured and on-site home builders, and remodeling contractors. These industries employ more than 6.5 million workers, 25 to one when compared with those in the forestry industry. ACAH members include: American Homeowners Grassroots Alliance, Catamount Pellet Fuel Corporation, CHEP International, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Consumers for World Trade, Fremont Forest Group Corporation, Free Trade Lumber Council, The Home Depot, International Mass Retail Association, International Sleep Products Association, Leggett & Platt Inc., Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, Manufactured Housing Institute, National Association of Home Builders, National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, National Retail Federation, and the United States Hispanic Contractors Association.

10/16/2002
Congressional Resolutions Urge Bush: End 27 Percent Federal Tax On Canadian Lumber Imports Essential for Homes, Other Uses
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Congressional Resolutions Urge Bush: End 27 Percent Federal Tax On Canadian Lumber Imports Essential for Homes, Other Uses

Congressmen Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) and Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) have introduced an updated concurrent resolution calling on President George W. Bush to pursue discussions with the Canadian Government to "promote open trade between the United States and Canada on softwood lumber, free of trade restraints that harm consumers." The resolution aims to: ensure a competitive North American market for softwood lumber; ensure free trade regarding softwood lumber between the U.S. and Canada;

10/16/2002
The Stranglehold on American Commerce
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Press Release

The Stranglehold on American Commerce

"We now have a new dock boss. His name is George W. Bush. Will the workers listen to Boy George? I don't know." Richard Mead President, Local 10 San FranciscoQuoted in the New York Times

10/09/2002
Consumers File Amicus Brief With NAFTA Opposing Canadian Softwood Lumber Duties
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Consumers File Amicus Brief With NAFTA Opposing Canadian Softwood Lumber Duties

* Brief asks NAFTA to remand U.S. International Trade Commission decision on threat of injury to U.S. producers from Canadian imports * 27 percent countervail and antidumping duties unfairly price potential homeowners out of the housing market WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- A friend-of-the-court brief was filed yesterday on behalf of the National Association of Home Builders and the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association urging a North American Free Trade Agreement bi-national panel to reject 27 percent duties resulting from a U.S. International Trade Commissions (ITC) finding of "threat of material injury" to U.S. lumber producers from Canadian softwood lumber imports. Last May, the ITC found that a potential threat existed, even though it found no evidence of an actual injury to U.S. industry. It approved 27 percent Commerce Department duties on Canadian softwood lumber imports, which went into effect later that month. Yesterday's brief, filed on behalf of two members of the American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH), an 18 member Alliance of U.S. lumber consumers and free trade advocates who comprise more than 95 percent of domestic and imported lumber consumption, is the only way consumers can be heard on this trade issue, according to an ACAH spokesperson. "The brief represents lumber dealers, home builders and other industries that rely on Canadian lumber -- from all regions of the country -- representing the broad cross section of Americans who are being harmed by what amounts to a 27 percent federal sales tax imposed on lumber," said Susan Petniunas, spokesperson for the ACAH. "It is unfortunate that trade laws do not allow consumers direct participation on an equal basis with industry in disputes like this. After all, consumers are the ones who end up paying the cost in higher prices, just to benefit a few U.S. companies." The brief includes extensive documentation that there is little overlapping among U.S. produced timber species and those imported from Canada, and that Canadian softwood lumber is not an adequate substitute for U. S. southern yellow pine in most of its uses. Each type of lumber has distinct properties, functions and applications that can make it a poor substitute for other species, homebuilders and lumber dealers testified before the ITC. Most lumber produced in the U.S. is southern yellow pine. In Canada, most timber harvested is spruce pine fir. The U.S. relies on imported lumber to meet about 30 percent of its needs. "If the entire 27 percent duties are passed on to U.S. consumers, they could add as much as $1,000 to the cost of a new home, and price as many as 300,000 families out of the housing market," Petniunas said. "These potential home buyers would not able to qualify for mortgages," she added. "And while $1,000 may not sound like much to some people, for many first-time homeowners and seniors seeking to reduce their housing costs in retirement, it can make the difference between being able to buy a home or not," she said. The Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports, led by International Paper, Potlatch, Plum Creek, Sierra Pacific, Temple Inland, and southern landowners, filed petitions alleging that they have been harmed by Canadian softwood lumber imports and asking for countervailing and antidumping duties. More than 100 members of the U.S. House and Senate have signed resolutions or written letters to President George W. Bush over the past year, indicating their support for free trade in lumber, and urging no new taxes or penalties on consumers. Approximately six million U.S. workers are involved in lumber- consuming businesses, including homebuilders, remodelers, lumber dealers, and such industries as window and bed makers. U.S. workers for lumber-consuming industries outnumber lumber-producing workers by 30 to 1. ACAH members include American Homeowners Grassroots Alliance, Catamount Pellet Fuel Corporation, CHEP International, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Consumers for World Trade, Free Trade Lumber Council, Fremont Forest Group Corporation, The Home Depot, International Mass Retail Association, International Sleep Products Association, Leggett & Platt Inc., Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, Manufactured Housing Institute, National Association of Home Builders, National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, National Retail Federation, and the United States Hispanic Contractors Association. http://www.acah.org

10/08/2002

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