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Podcast - Navigating the World of Credit with Thea Dudley

Risky Business - Thea Dudley

Thea Dudley, MSLBMDA's Secretary and Treasurer, guest stars on Brad Hartmann's podcast Behind Your Back.

Imagine a job that required you to take FBI interrogation classes to learn negotiators' "tells" and to trek across deserts to recover goods. Well, if you're an expert in the business of credit management, you've likely done both.

My guest this week on the Behind Your Back Podcast is Thea Dudley, Vice President of Financial Services at SRS Distribution. Thea has over 30 years of credit and collection management experience in the construction industry working with dealers, general contractors, and sub-contractors. She also writes a credit advice column for ProSales Magazine called Thea's Mailbag, which she provides insights on the variety of challenges she deals with on a daily basis.

In this episode, Thea gives us a detailed look into ways the sales team and the credit team can work together to make everyone's jobs easier and more successful.

She also discusses:

  • The best way to ensure sales isn’t wasting valuable prospecting time on prospects who don’t pay
  • What you can do to facilitate prompt payment
  • Negotiation tactics to leverage better concessions
  • How to decide who is worthy of credit and how to go after those who abuse the privilege
  • How to get more women in the LBM industry
  • . . . And much more

Click below to listen to my conversation with Thea Dudley, Vice President of Financial Services at SRS Distribution—and say "thank you" to you credit team today!

Behind Your Back - Episode 14 - Risky Business: Navigating the World of Credit with Thea Dudley

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Commerce Department Makes Final Determination Upholding Duties on Canadian Softwood Lumber

For Immediate Release
November 2, 2017
Contact: Ben Gann, (202) 367-1169

Commerce Department Makes Final Determination Upholding Duties on Canadian Softwood Lumber

[Washington DC] - Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced it is finalizing antidumping duties (AD) and countervailing duties (CVD) on softwood lumber imports from Canada to the U.S. The Commerce Department's decision must still be approved by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), which is scheduled to make its final determinations by December 18.

Most Canadian firms will pay a combined AD/CVD rate of 20.83 percent, which is less than the preliminary combined rate of 26.75 percent. For the five companies (Canfor, J.D. Irving, Resolute, Tolko, and West Fraser) directly involved in the investigation, they will pay a combined rate that is different. Canfor will pay 22.13 percent, J.D. Irving will pay 9.92 percent, Resolute will pay 17.9 percent, Tolko will pay 22.07 percent, and West Fraser will pay 23.76 percent.

In the antidumping duties investigation, the Commerce Department established a final determination of 6.58 percent for most producers and exporters of softwood lumber from Canada. However, four Canadian companies (Canfor, Resolute, Tolko, and West Fraser) will pay different rates. Canfor will pay 8.89 percent, Resolute will pay 3.2 percent, Tolko will pay 7.22 percent, and West Fraser will pay 5.57 percent.

The Commerce Department also made a final determination in the countervailing duties investigation. Most Canadian firms will pay rate of 14.25 percent. In addition, five Canadian companies (Canfor, J.D. Irving, Resolute, Tolko, and West Fraser) will pay differing rates based on the subsidy rate determined by the Commerce Department. Canfor will pay 13.24 percent, J.D. Irving will pay 3.34 percent, Resolute will pay 14.7 percent, Tolko will pay 14.85 percent, and West Fraser will pay 18.19 percent.

The latest action taken by the Department of Commerce is in response to a petition filed by the U.S. Lumber Coalition, a group representing American softwood lumber producers, alleging harm caused by unfair subsidies for the Canadian softwood lumber industry.

Lumber prices have increased over the past year in part because of the duties placed on Canadian softwood lumber imported to the U.S. The Random Lengths Framing Lumber Composite price is now $433 per thousand board feet, an increase of 24 percent over the past year. The increase has been even more significant for the panel market. The Random Lengths Structural Panel Composite price is now $527 per thousand board feet, an increase of 42 percent over the past year.

"NLBMDA urges both sides to work together to reach a new agreement on the longstanding softwood lumber dispute as quickly as possible," said Jonathan Paine, President & CEO of the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA). "Duties are a lackluster substitute for a long-term agreement that would bring much needed stability and predictability to the pricing and availability of softwood lumber in the United States. It is time for serious discussions by policymakers to resolve this issue once and for all. The longer this dispute lasts the greater the burden there will be on the affordable housing community, which is already in crisis."

In 2016, imports of softwood lumber from Canada into the U.S. were valued at an estimated $5.66 billion. The Trump Administration has initiated 77 antidumping and countervailing duty investigations this year - a 61 percent increase from 48 in the previous year.

NLBMDA will continue to engage with the Department of Commerce, Canadian government, and Congress on the softwood lumber dispute in hopes of reaching a new agreement that does not put American lumber producers at a competitive disadvantage, unnecessarily restrict the availability of products, or increase the cost of housing to the detriment of prospective homebuyers and consumers.

The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) represents its members in the national public policy arena, with emphasis on efforts to 1) promote the industry and educate legislators and public policy personnel; and 2) assist legislative, regulatory, standard-setting and other government or private bodies in the development of laws, regulations and policies affecting lumber and building material dealers, its customers and suppliers. Founded in 1917, the association represents over 6,000 member locations operating single or multiple lumber yards and component plants serving homebuilders, subcontractors, general contractors, and consumers in the new construction, repair and remodeling of residential and light commercial. www.dealer.org.

Softwood Lumber Dispute Escalates Between U.S. and Canada

Article By Ben Gann

In April, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced it is placing countervailing duties (CVD) on softwood lumber imports from Canada to the U.S. Levies ranging from 3 to 24 percent are being applied on softwood lumber from five Canadian companies. As part of the preliminary decision, all other Canadian softwood lumber producers and exporters will pay a rate of 19.88 percent.

A preliminary decision by the Department of Commerce on antidumping duties (AD) is scheduled for June 23. A final CVD and AD determination is scheduled to be issued no later than September 6.

The action taken by the federal government is in response to a petition filed by the U.S. Lumber Coalition, a group representing American softwood lumber producers, alleging harm caused by unfair subsidies for the Canadian softwood lumber industry. As part of the petition, the coalition seeks to restore what it considers to be fair trade conditions in softwood lumber between the U.S. and Canada.

At the heart of the disagreement is the claim that Canadian provincial governments are unfairly subsidizing the softwood lumber industry, thereby causing harm to the U.S. producers. The U.S. Lumber Coalition wants duties imposed on Canadian imports to offset what it sees as the harm caused by those subsidies.

The Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) between the United States (U.S.) and Canada expired on October 12, 2015, and was in effect from 2006 to 2015. There was a one-year cooling off period following expiration of the agreement.Lumber prices have increased over the past year in anticipation of duties being placed on Canadian softwood lumber imports into the U.S.

Political events in the U.S. and Canada have only made negotiating a new agreement more challenging. Expiration of the agreement occurred just prior to the Canadian federal election that saw Justin Trudeau elected as the new Prime Minister. That was followed by the U.S presidential election, which took place several weeks after the end of the one-year cooling off period.

Moreover, the issue of trade was prominent during last year’s presidential election and defied traditional political norms held by Republicans and Democrats. President Donald Trump was able to resonate with voters, and ultimately win the election last fall, in part by bashing U.S. trade deals as overly friendly to other countries. The president has continued his strong criticism of past trade deals, and has threatened to withdraw the U.S. from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Efforts toward a new softwood lumber agreement have been further complicated by the slow pace in staffing federal agencies by the Trump Administration, including the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) that negotiates trade agreements. Properly staffing USTR is important in moving forward to a new SLA.

Reports suggest that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will play a larger role in trade policy than is traditionally the case for someone in his position. President Trump’s economic advisers overall support a trade policy approach that is more protectionist than under President Obama.

NLBMDA members report they have seen significant increases in Canadian softwood lumber prices in recent months. The Random Lengths Framing Lumber Composite price corroborates that with the index up over 25 percent in the past year—likely in anticipation of new duties on Canadian imports.

American and Canadian softwood lumber producers have nearly all of the U.S. softwood lumber market. U.S. lumber producers have approximately 65 to 71 percent of the U.S. softwood lumber market, and Canadian producers’ market share fluctuates between 28 and 34 percent. There is relatively little softwood lumber imported into the U.S. from countries other than Canada, although there have been efforts to encourage imports into the U.S. from other countries.

NLBMDA supports the U.S. and Canada reaching a new softwood lumber agreement that helps meet domestic demand for softwood lumber, does not put U.S. lumber producers at a competitive disadvantage, unnecessarily restrict the availability of products, or increase the cost of housing to the detriment of prospective homebuyers and U.S.consumers.

In addition, the association has not taken a position regarding any export taxes or market quotas as part of a new agreement. NLBMDA continues to meet with government officials regarding the need for a new softwood lumber agreement to avoid a prolonged trade dispute.

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