Lumber tariffs don’t draw protests of steel and aluminum

Last week, within hours after Trump announced the 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, many industries rose up in protest, said Gene Wengert, the Wood Dr.

“Auto manufacturing indicated that this tariff would raise prices, affect sales and cause large (maybe 200,000) unemployment,” he said. “These industries responded within hours of Trump’s action. The stock market lost around 2 percent.”  

“Why didn’t we see this when the 50 percent-plus tariff on Canadian lumber was announced, which will affect housing starts as house prices will jump $5,000 or more. Housing is 12 percent of the GDP. Plus, a shortage of wood might drive prices even higher in repair and remodeling.

“All this will affect furniture, cabinets, flooring and millwork directly. Who is watching out for our forest products interests? Why didn’t we see a response similar to the steel response?

“Wouldn’t the economic and marketing people in the U.S. Forest Service and some of our manufacturing associations rise up immediately? Did the National Association of Home Builders respond with flashiness?

“Incidentally, the NAHB says nationally, for every $1,000 increase in the price of a home, about 152,903 households are priced out of the market for a median-priced new home."


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Karl Forth

Karl D. Forth is online editor for CCI Media. He also writes news and feature stories in FDMC Magazine, in addition to newsletters and custom publishing projects. He is also involved in event organization, and compiles the annual FDM 300 list of industry leaders. He can be reached at [email protected].