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. 10 million private landowners supply the mills and are part of a sustainable forest management system that harvests timber from over 420 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. The U.S. softwood lumber industry supports about 750,000 jobs from coast to coast.
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. Since 2016, U.S. sawmill investment and capacity expansion has been robust. The U.S. industry has produced an additional 20.5 billion board feet of lumber through 2022, averaging 3.4 billion a year of added output, to supply American lumber to build American homes.
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.