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COUNTERVAILING DUTY ON CANADIAN LUMBER WOULD HURT HOUSING AFFORDABILITY

 COUNTERVAILING DUTY ON CANADIAN LUMBER
 WOULD HURT HOUSING AFFORDABILITY
 WASHINGTON, March 11 /PRNewswire/ -- The Commerce Department's preliminary ruling last week seeking a 14.48 percent countervailing duty on lumber imported from Canada would further disrupt U.S. lumber markets, which have seen prices soar more than 30 percent during the past two months, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)
 "A substantial portion of the duty is expected to show up in higher prices for lumber in the U.S.," said NAHB President Robert "Jay" Buchert. "As a result of the countervailing duty, home buyers will have to pay an additional $750 to $1,000 for a median priced new home ($120,000). A $1,000 increase in the cost of a new home would mean that 40,000 potential home buyers would be priced out of the housing market."
 New residential construction and home remodeling directly accounted for about 64 percent of the 43 billion board feet of softwood lumber consumed in the United States in 1991, while Canadian lumber imports tallied 27 percent of total domestic usage.
 Lumber prices reached $309 per 1,000 board feet last week compared with $235 per 1,000 board feet at the end of 1991. Anticipation of the duties plus the rebound in home building and logging restrictions in the Pacific Northwest due to endangered species regulations also exerted upward pressure on lumber prices.
 "The combination of tough environmental restrictions and the imposition of a countervailing duty will continue to push up lumber prices in the months ahead," Buchert 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."
 Calling the countervailing duty a protectionist measure, Buchert said that 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.
 -0- 3/11/92
 /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: ECO


SB -- DC014 -- 7382 03/11/92 14:56 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 11, 1992
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