5 Things You Need to Know About the U.S. Softwood Lumber Industry
1. It’s rooted in family business.
Often family-owned and operated, mills across the U.S. manufacture lumber and invest in new technologies and tools that benefit both their mills and their communities. 11 million private landowners supply the mills and are part of a sustainable forest management system that harvests timber from over 640 million acres of timberlands.
2. It’s an engine of economic opportunity in rural America.
Lumber mills typically operate in small rural communities and have become part and parcel of the local areas they support and live in, creating well-paying jobs and giving hardworking families a chance at economic opportunity. More than 350,000 people work in the softwood lumber industry from coast to coast today.
3. It’s highly competitive, high-tech and growing.
Rated among the most efficient lumber industries in the world, American lumber mills are capable of supplying most of America’s demand and are high-tech to boot. In the first five months of 2018, the industry grew by 6% to meet U.S. softwood lumber demand.
4. It’s under constant threat from Canada’s unfair trade practices.
Canadian lumber mills receive government subsidies that distort the price of their input timber to unnaturally low levels and give them an advantage when they export the finished lumber product. American lumber mills operate in a private system that is part of the open market. U.S. lumber mills just want to compete on a level playing field to reach their full economic potential.
5. Its success depends on rules-based trade.
In 2018, after a long, technical investigation, the Commerce Department imposed anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Canadian softwood lumber imports. These duties ensure fair, rules-based trade that enables U.S. lumber mills to invest and grow to their natural size without being impaired by unfair trade.