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White House Statement on a Program of Assistance to the Lumber Industry.

July 26, 1962

THE PRESIDENT today announced a program designed to assist the lumber industry and improve its competitive position. The announcement followed a meeting with Senators and Congressmen from the northwest. The program included both immediate and long-range actions designed to increase employment, improve efficiency, and raise earnings.

The new steps outlined by the President called for:

(1) The initiation of negotiations with Canada concerning the amount of softwood lumber imported into the United States.

(2) The submission of a request to the Congress for additional funds for forest Development Roads and Trails Program to assure the prompt harvest of National forest timber.

(3) The amendment of the Intercoastal Shipping laws to permit use of foreign vessels when those conditions exist which indicate severe hardship to American shippers. This amendment will reduce the handicaps suffered by American producers in the intercoastal shipment of lumber.

(4) An immediate increase in allowable cuts which will make available 150 million board feet on the lands managed by the Department of the Interior.

(5) The establishment of a preference for American products in the purchase of lumber by the Department of Defense, the General Services Administration and other federal departments and agencies. This could be particularly significant in connection with the various aspects of the AID program.

(6) Increased attention to loan applications filed with the Small Business Administration and the Area Redevelopment Administration by lumber mills in order to enable them to upgrade their production and better compete with imported lumber products.

In addition, the President indicated that he was directing that there be a continuing view of the problems of the industry by an inter-agency committee in order that developments and problems might be anticipated and recommendations made to meet and overcome any difficulties or handicaps the industry might face. The Secretary of Agriculture would be specifically instructed to report to him by October 15 on both firm and interim increases in national forest allowable cuts to assure a continuation of timber sales at or beyond the record levels achieved in the most recent quarter of 1962.

The President was informed that west coast lumber interests had already filed a request with the Tariff Commission for an escape clause investigation on softwood lumber and that the Tariff Commission has instituted an investigation. The President indicated he would request the Commission to complete it as expeditiously as possible.

Note: The Secretary of Agriculture, on October 12, reported to the President that a review by the forest Service of allowable cutting rates in the National forests had resulted in an increase of 547 million board feet for the 42 forests in the Pacific Coast and Inland Empire States where timber demand was critical. The review was confined to areas where interim increases would be significant in helping the lumber industry meet current difficulties. The report stated that the regular program of reinventory and adjustments of allowable cuts for all National forests was continuing and that allowable cuts for other National forests had been increased by 209 million board feet since January 1, 1962.

John F. Kennedy, White House Statement on a Program of Assistance to the Lumber Industry. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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