B.C. lumber industry on edge after Biden ups the ante on Buy American policies

B.C. lumber industry on edge after Biden ups the ante on Buy American policies
Biden announcement in Tuesday's state of the union speech has left British Columbia's lumber industry anxiously parsing the expanded rules.

British Columbia’s lumber industry is anxiously parsing U.S. President Joe Biden’s latest Buy American language to better understand the implications for Canadian exporters.

The B.C. Lumber Trade Council says it’s “concerning” that Biden says he wants to restrict the use of foreign lumber in federally funded infrastructure projects.

Biden announced the expanded rules during Tuesday’s state of the union speech on Capitol Hill.

The White House says it wants all construction materials for such projects, including copper, aluminum, lumber, glass, drywall and fibre-optic cable, to be made on American soil.

Council president Linda Coady says the U.S. was only able to produce about 70 per cent of its overall lumber demand in 2021, a gap she says was largely filled by imports from Canada.

Canadian producers have long been at the centre of a decades-long trade dispute with the U.S. over anti-dumping duties it imposes on softwood lumber from north of the border.

“This is concerning and we are seeking to better understand what this means for Canadian producers,” Coady said of Biden’s announcement.

“Our focus remains on working on both sides of the border to maximize the opportunity Canada has in providing the sustainably produced, low-carbon lumber products we know American homebuilders, consumers and construction workers want and need.”

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