Fresh Takes

American protectionism hurts middle class families

Early this week, the US Department of Commerce indicated its intention to reduce tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber. The rate for most producers would fall from 17.91% to 11.64%, taking effect later this year. While this is at least some good news for our lumber exporters, the tariffs remain. Only with their complete elimination will the economies of Canada and the United States reap the full benefits from trade.

Indeed, given the significant increase in the price of softwood lumber in recent months, the construction of housing is becoming more and more expensive as supply struggles to meet demand, and 2022 looks like it will greatly resemble 2021. Once again, it will be middle class and lower income US families paying the price for this protectionist policy.

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