[Homestead] Homebuilders nightmare, Big Timber dream - Not

Walter H.Jeffries Highlands at blacklightning.com
Wed Sep 1 19:23:59 EDT 2004

On Sep 1, 2004, at 9:41 PM, Tvoivozhd wrote:
> For Bush, turning National Forests over to State thieves isn't 
> enough---has to sweeten the pot for Big Timber by a 27.5 percent 
> import duty on Canadian lumber---adding $2000 to the cost of building 
> each house in the U.S..

It is not as simple and easy as you present. I'm in the timber 
industry, although not 'Big Timber' - we only have about 1,000 acres. 
We do sustainable logging on our land, that's private land, without 
government subsidy. On the other hand, the Canadian government 
subsidizes their industry considerably. In addition to subsidizing the 
harvesting of the trees the Canadian government has put a lot of money 
into updating the private mills.

The cost of updating mills is so high and the market has been so 
volatile that small mills, which is primarily what exists within 
trucking distance of us, can't afford the cost to upgrade. The Canadian 
government's subsidy to their industry made it so they are now more 
competitive. This has helped the Canadian mills and put a lot of mills 
in the USA out of business. In part, because of that we have to now 
ship our logs further, be it in the USA or elsewhere.

Now here is the irony, we produce primarily high grade maple from our 
forest, without government subsidy, and much of it ships north TO 
Canada as well as to points as far away as Japan. Why would it ever 
ship TO Canada you ask? Because their mills have finer cutting blades 
and can make better use of the wood with less waste. This is because 
they had hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies from the Canadian 
government to update their mills. It is then reimported back into the 
USA for use in furniture making, cabinetry, etc or sent to Japan and 
points East as veneer for knickknack boxes and other fancy trinkets.

There is a good reason for there to be an import duty on Canadian 
lumber, it is because the government paid for the upgrading of the 
mills, the buildings of the roads, reduced lumber taxes, etc. If this 
will equalize it a bit and make it so that more lumber comes, 
sustainabily, from our own forests and is cut by our own mills who are 
then able to compete with the subsidized Canadian mills then that is 
good. That is what import duties should do - They correct imbalances.

It isn't quite as simple as you present it and it's not all 'Big 


West Topsham, Vermont
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For Sale: 1825 post & beam farm house, 4 square cape with kitchen el, 
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chimney, own a piece of Vermont history - one of the first houses in 
the area. Must be moved! Foundation stones also available. Some land 
available too.

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