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COUNTERVAILING DUTY ON CANADIAN LUMBER WOULD HINDER ECONOMIC GROWTH

COUNTERVAILING DUTY ON CANADIAN LUMBER WOULD HINDER ECONOMIC GROWTH
 WASHINGTON, March 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The nation's fragile economic recovery is facing pressure from rapidly rising lumber prices, which threaten to hinder the economic recovery and slow housing construction at a time when the housing market is poised for a rebound, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
 "The Commerce Department's preliminary ruling on March 6 imposing a 14.5 percent countervailing duty on lumber imported from Canada threatens to stymie housing production and further disrupt U.S. lumber markets, which have seen prices soar more than 35 percent over the past 10 weeks," said Kent Colton, executive vice president of the NAHB.
 Lumber prices reached a record $322 per thousand board feet last week, compared with a price of $235 per thousand board feet at the end of 1991 -- a 37 percent increase.
 The Commerce Department's March 6 announcement can be traced to the International Trade Commission's (ITC) Dec. 16, 1991, preliminary finding that Canadian lumber imports are hurting U.S. lumber producers.
 NAHB has expressed its concern to both the Commerce Department and the White House that this duty is inappropriate and harmful to the economic recovery, Colton said.
 "We plan to follow up on this matter with the Commerce Department and ITC, which are both in the process of reviewing their preliminary decisions," he said.
 Tough environmental restrictions that have limited logging in the Pacific Northwest and the imposition of a countervailing duty will continue to push up lumber prices in the months ahead, Colton added.
 "Such a development could be a serious setback for the U.S. housing industry, which is poised for a recovery following the deepest recession in the post-World War II period and the loss of 700,000 jobs during the past two years," said Colton.
 More than $10,000 worth of lumber and other wood products go into a typical new home. The increases in lumber and plywood prices since the beginning of this year translate into an increase of over $3,000 in the cost of a new home. Each $1,000 increase in the cost of a new home means that 40,000 home buyers are priced out of the housing market.
 "Clearly, an ample supply of lumber at a reasonable cost is essential for the housing industry to produce affordable homes and act as the engine to lead the nation on the road to economic recovery," Colton said.
 -0- 3/19/92
 /CONTACT: Jay Shackford of the National Association of Home Builders, 202-822-0406/ CO: National Association of Home Builders ST: District of Columbia IN: PAP SU:


MK-DC -- DC016 -- 9848 03/19/92 16:44 EST
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Date:Mar 19, 1992
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