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September 2003

In the News ...

ASSOCIATION NEWS

NSDJA to Become AMD

In October 2002, the National Sash and Door Jobbers Association’s (NSDJA) board of directors voted to recommend a name change for the association. During the month of May 2003, all 204 jobber home offices received a package of information and a ballot in order to obtain a vote by proxy. The association felt the benefit of this process was to allow for interpersonal discussion and a review by all jobber members.

By the deadline of June 27, 2003, NSDJA headquarters had received 124 ballots in favor of changing the name to the Association of Millwork Distributors (AMD). Reminder cards to vote, in addition to follow-up telephone calls, were made to ask all those who did not respond. 

The official announcement will take place on October 15, 2003, as a component of the Awards Breakfast to be held at the 40th Annual NSDJA Convention in Orlando, Fla.

After the official announcement, AMD will be the name used for the association.

(See NSDJA Headlines on page 8 for more on the name change.)

COMPANY NEWS
Louisiana-Pacific Is Contemplating Relocation

Louisiana-Pacific (LP) will announce at the end of this month whether or not it will keep its headquarters in Portland or move to Charlotte, N.C.; Nashville, Tenn.; or Richmond, Va., reported the Associated Press on July 30, 2003.

“Any one of those will be a fine location,” said Mark A. Suwyn, the company’s chairperson and chief executive officer. “Now we’re working on the details to pick which one of the four to be in.”

Each city and its state, including Portland and Oregon, have offered incentive programs or are working out offers, Suwyn said.

He said the company, which was founded in Portland 31 years ago, would move closer to its growing operations in the Midwest and South. About 160 people work at LP’s headquarters in downtown Portland.

LP had sold about a third of its assets in the last year as it has struggled to reverse three years of financial losses and a junk-bond credit rating. The company plans to sell its eight lumber mills and two hardboard plants, most of which are located in the Northwest. Its plants make oriented strand board, a paneling product that is taking market share from plywood steadily, and which mainly feed East Coast and Midwest housing markets.

“We’d be pretty irresponsible not to make this kind of a move at this time,” Suwyn said.
Yet, Suwyn acknowledged, almost all Portland-area LP employees oppose a headquarters change.



LUMBER
NAFTA Rejects Duties on Canadian Lumber
A North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) panel has rejected the 19-percent countervailing duties on Canadian lumber imports. The ruling was made by the panel on August 13.

“The NAFTA decision on countervailing duties reaffirms a similar ruling by the World Trade Organization (WTO) several [weeks before] that found that countervailing duties imposed by the U.S. Commerce Department on imports of Canadian softwood lumber were based on an invalid calculation that Canadian producers were subsidized,” said Bobby Rayburn, first vice president of the National Association of Home Builders of Atlanta and a home builder from Jackson, Miss.

In July, a NAFTA panel ruled that the Commerce Department was wrong in imposing 8-percent anti-dumping duties on Canadian lumber shipments, and that the methods were used in calculating the duties had to be changed.

In handing down its ruling, the NAFTA panel found that the United States acted in a manner that is “unsupported by substantial evidence and is contrary to law” when it imposed tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber based on timber price comparison between the two 
countries. The ruling states: “In other words, as noted in the Canadian Parties’ brief, by attempting to value Canadian timber at U.S. prices whether or not adjusted for supposed market conditions, the Commerce methodology turns the law of comparative advantage into a law of comparative disadvantage. No country would negotiate a trade agreement with such an intended result.”

In order for a countervailing duty to be imposed, the Commerce Department must find that foreign producers receive government subsidies, and the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) must find that U.S. producers are injured or threatened with injury. A separate case challenging the ITC’s finding that U.S. producers are threatened with injury is still to be decided.

There are currently duties of more than 27 percent on Canadian lumber shipments into the United States. This includes roughly 19-percent countervailing and 8-percent anti-dumping duties. 

Bipartisan resolutions now pending in both the House and Senate call for the WTO and NAFTA cases to proceed expeditiously and for “open trade between the United States and Canada on softwood lumber free of trade restraints that harm consumers.”

Seized Mahogany at Center of International Dispute
According to an article in the Fredericksburg, Va.-based Free Lance-Star, a shipment of Brazilian mahogany, cut from a threatened species of trees and sitting in a warehouse in Norfolk, Va., is at the center of an international dispute involving the destruction of rain forests. The government argues that the wood was cut from trees protected by an international treaty.

The shipment of 71 cubic meters of Brazilian mahogany arrived in Norfolk in early 2002, but records show that the shipment permit allowed only 55 cubic meters to enter the country. The government has filed papers in federal court to seize the remaining 16 cubic meters, valued between $12,000 and $24,000 wholesale. 

“The government did not know if the wood was legal,” said James A. Petit De Mange, inspection station coordinator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “There was a lot of heartburn by importers. They thought they had legitimate permits.”

The trees, known as bigleaf mahogany, have been decimated by logging in the Amazon rain forest. Although a 160-nation consortium voted to limit exports from South America and Brazil extended a moratorium on logging the trees, Brazilian mahogany continues to arrive in America. 


 


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