Wilbur Ross: US actions against Canada will lead to 'small increase' in lumber prices

Sec. Ross: Canada 'generally a good neighbor' but still need to play by the rules

The Trump administration's new duties on Canadian softwood lumber will lead to a "small increase" in lumber prices in the United States, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters at the White House, Ross said he does not expect costs to go up "anything like the 20 percent" average tariffs on the softwood lumber imports. He added that those duties will be collected starting Tuesday and retroactively going back 90 days.

The U.S. took the action Monday, arguing that Canada's subsidies for its own lumber industry are unfair. The Trump administration has sharpened its trade rhetoric against Canada recently, after President Donald Trump spent most of his campaign directing his ire at Mexico instead.

Canada has denounced the action, calling it unwarranted, according to Reuters.

Ross said Canada is "generally a good neighbor," but it has to "play by the rules."

The action will increase the cost of Canadian lumber by 6.4 percent for U.S. customers, according to the National Association of Home Builders. The NAHB estimates it will increase the price of an average new single-family home by $1,236.

Ross said that he does not know of any more "immediate actions" planned against Canada. He added that he is not concerned about potential Canadian retaliation or the start of trade war, saying "We don't think that's going to happen."

— CNBC's Diana Olick contributed to this report.

Watch: Ross doesn't think tariff will start a trade war with Canada

Sec. Ross: We don't think this will start a trade war with Canada