It is no longer easy to buy lumber in this country because of soaring demand for it, the nation’s leading lumber importer said.
But it’s not as simple as a quick, quick move to a cheaper producer, said Mark Woodworth, vice president of the U.S. Wood Products Association, a trade group that represents some of the world’s largest retailers.
“It’s a little bit of a moving target,” Woodworth said.
“But it could be a moving deadline.”
Woodworth said he hopes the government’s move will allow American mills to compete with cheaper suppliers overseas and provide a way to keep more American workers at work.
He said the administration’s announcement could also help companies such as Cascades Lumber Co. , which has been struggling to get more American lumber into its mills in recent months.
The government announced in March that it was moving to phase out a program that allowed some of America’s largest U.K. and British lumber producers to sell to domestic buyers.
Under that program, mills had been able to sell raw lumber to buyers in Canada, Mexico and other countries, but now that buyers were buying lumber from mills that were part of the program, they were no longer able to buy it in the U:A change in the program would result in the mills being unable to sell their products to Canadian buyers, Woodworth told the Times.
“That’s the big problem with this program: If we’re not able to move into the domestic market, it doesn’t really matter who is the supplier,” Woodie said.
He added that U.M.S.’s move could open the door to foreign competitors to enter the domestic lumber market.
“They’ll be competing for the domestic markets,” Woodies said.
Woodworth, who has been in the lumber industry for more than 40 years, said the industry is not prepared to move on its own without help from Congress.
He noted that the U and U. K. lumber trade groups have been negotiating with the administration for months to resolve issues that could prevent the U from making the switch to a Canadian-owned mill.
He said the issue has been largely resolved, and he expected to have more progress by the end of the month.
Woods said there are two important pieces of legislation in the current Congress that could help move the U-M mills toward Canada.
The U. S. Department of Commerce’s Trade Promotion Authority, or TPA, requires the Department of Labor to negotiate with foreign buyers to enter into a long-term procurement agreement.
Under the deal, the companies are allowed to pay an upfront fee to the government and get an annual discount of up to 20 percent.
But that discount does not apply to U. The U. UK’s Trade and Investment Bill of Rights is similar to TPA but is more restrictive on the foreign buyers.
Under the TPA provisions, Woodies added, companies are only allowed to bid on U. M.S.-owned lumber if they are members of the Canadian lumber industry.
He also said the TPSA also allows the federal government to take a 20 percent cut of the profits of a Canadian lumber company that imports U.U.S., and Woodies pointed to a potential $10 million annual deal between U. and U-K.
Woodies said the UMWC has made good progress on the Canadian side, which is in the process of negotiating a deal with the Canadian government to move its mills to Canada.
He expects the U M’s plan to go through sometime in the next few months.
Woodies expects the company to be in a better position to make that purchase.