President's Message: We’re a Passionate Bunch

President's Message

President's Message: We’re a Passionate Bunch

I was recently sitting in an SBCA meeting and a fellow component manufacturer (CM) on the board spoke passionately about how important it was for all CMs to promote the benefits of component framing over stick framing. The way he talked, if I didn’t know him, I would have guessed he ran a plant in Texas or Mississippi and was constantly having to fight for market share against stick framers. In actuality, he operates in Florida. Stick framing doesn’t even affect him.

I share this because it provides a glimpse into what most of our meetings are like. They’re full of people passionate about their businesses and passionate about the whole industry. When we show up at those meetings we check our company hats at the door and we become brothers-in-arms focused on fighting to expand the market for structural components everywhere.

I’ll give you another example: Canadian softwood lumber. The U.S. imports roughly a third of the softwood lumber used in housing from Canada. While U.S. producers don’t have enough capacity to make all the wood we need, that doesn’t stop them from trying to use our trade laws to curtail the supply of Canadian lumber through tariffs. Those tariffs create market uncertainty and price volatility, which can really harm our profitability.

Further, the tariffs create a competitive disadvantage for U.S. CMs in border states that compete against Canadian CMs who don’t have to pay for the tariff on the wood they purchase. While this is a regional issue on the surface, SBCA successfully worked to influence the last negotiated settlement between the U.S. and Canada.

Along that same vein, SBCA continues to advocate for a negotiated settlement to the current dispute that protects the interests of all U.S. lumber consumers. The sooner a settlement is reached, the sooner the market uncertainty caused by the tariffs goes away and the sooner U.S. and Canadian CMs are back on a level playing field when purchasing lumber.

I’ve heard plenty of CMs from Texas and South Carolina talk passionately about how important it is for us to have a long-term trade agreement with Canada so that uncertainty becomes a thing of the past. The meetings are fun, and if you haven’t attended a meeting before, I’d encourage you to come and see it for yourself.

You don’t have to participate in the meetings to have a big impact though. Just being a member of SBCA provides significant support to the industry as a whole. The more CMs and suppliers our organization represents, the stronger our collective voice when we go to government officials or code groups to advocate on the behalf of all CMs.