Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin is claiming the tariff on Canadian softwood lumber is hurting the state of Kentucky’s homebuilders.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Monday that the Trump administration has made it clear that it will negotiate a better deal for the United States regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Spicer’s claim came after a reported asked Spicer about the United States tariff on Canadian softwood lumber which has resulted in negative consequences for homebuilders in the United States.
The reporter asked Spicer about a meeting that occurred between Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and Governor of Kentucky Matt Bevin on Monday.
According to the reporter, during the meeting, Bevin apparently said that “he needs good quality aluminum. His homebuilders need good quality softwood lumber.”
Bevin’s concerns carry particular weight given the United States’ new ambassador to Canada, Kelly Knight Craft, hails from Kentucky.
The Department of Commerce in April imposed a 20% tariff on Canadian softwood lumber after years of complaints from U.S. timber industry that Canada subsidizes its lumber products, which are then sold in the United States at a below-market price.
The effects of this tariff are compounded by a log export ban in British Columbia that the Trump Administration would like to eliminate as part of the deal.
“I think that Wilbur Ross and the Department of Commerce have made it very clear with the softwood lumber case that they want to get a better deal for our country,” Spicer told the reporter.
“I understand the governor’s point and we’re going to continue to work through the proper channels and dispute resolution settlement to get that – to achieve our goals and make sure that the concerns that we have are settled correctly through the mechanism that exists.”
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