Canada has new ways to pressure Washington over softwood lumber duties: ambassador

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fairly difficult
Canada's ambassador to the United States says Canadian officials have new leverage as they urge Washington to negotiate a solution to the long-standing dispute over U.S. duties on softwood lumber.
VANCOUVER -- Canadian officials have new leverage as they urge Washington to negotiate a solution to the long-standing dispute over U.S. duties on softwood lumber, Canada's ambassador to the United States said Thursday.

Kirsten Hillman told a British Columbia forest industry conference that record-high lumber prices could affect U.S. President Joe Biden's ability to fulfil his pandemic recovery goals, which include building more affordable, environmentally friendly housing.

The U.S. produces about 70 per cent of the softwood lumber it needs, she said, and Canadian exports make up the vast majority of the shortfall.

Pressure is mounting for the Biden administration to address the softwood dispute, Hillman said, as current lumber supply shortages and high prices mean more Americans are unable to get into the housing market.

The U.S. National Association of Home Builders estimates the increase in lumber prices since last spring has added $24,000 to the average price of a single-family home, pricing out droves of would-be homeowners, she said.

"Anecdotally, the homebuilders tell us that they've delayed their construction projects by four to six months, because they are not able to secure the lumber that they need," Hillman said.

"This tension between…
The Canadian Press, Brenna Owen
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