Hardwood industry pleads with Washington for trade war relief
WASHINGTON –The Hardwood Federation, which comprises 28 U.S. trade and hardwood associations, claims that since the start of the trade war, a dramatic impact has been observed. It now plans to put more pressure on lawmakers.
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The Hill has reported that Nathan Jeppson, who is CEO of Northwest Hardwoods, would meet with the officer of Trade Representative this week. One of the largest wood suppliers of the country, based in Washington, has claimed that they had to shut their both sawmills in Virginia and Washington. Northwest has also laid off 225 employees since 2018 because of retaliatory tariffs imposed due to China.
Northwood Hardwoods has claimed that the demand for the U.S. produced hardwoods has declined sharply due to trade disputes. China is moving towards other countries with less regularization and a more sustainable supply of hardwoods. This act may permanently damage the supply chains.
A demand for a relief package was sent to administration in October, but no response has been received as of yet.
The imposition of tariffs on Chinese products by President Trump made the Chinese government impose tariffs of their own since July 2018. The added burden reduced the exports of walnut, red oak, and seven other hardwoods by 25 percent.
The impact of Chinese tariffs on red oak reduced the prices which the producers could get significantly. The spokesman of American Hardwood Export Council told Breitbart that this drop was larger than if all of Europe and Southeast Asia may just stop purchasing the U.S. hardwoods overnight.
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The Hardwood Federation executive director, Dana Lee, also told The Hill that the industry had seen a dramatic impact.
Cole also said that there had been a decline of 43 percent in the total volume of trade towards China. Also, there has been a very significant impact on domestic markets. The mills are now in a condition where they have no incentive to process the logs, as the cost of production is more than the selling price.
About 2 million people are employed in the hardwood industry, and the U.S. sawmills are usually owned by families. They are located near timberlands in Northeast, Pacific Northwest, and South as the federation reports.
In an opinion, the executive director of West Virginia Forestry Association, Frank Stewart, termed the effect of tariffs as ‘buzzsaw’ in his field of region.
He also asserted that there is no market else than China, which can consume 32,025 containers of American red oak. The tariffs have reduced the profits of the U.S. to significant levels. He also noted drastic consequences like losing jobs and outlets where landowners could sell their timber.
The net value of the U.S. hardwood lumber exports has been dropped by 57 percent since the inception of the trade war, the council has observed. Previously, it was almost $54 million in August.
A group of 38 members of the House of Representatives is in support of urging the Trump administration in providing financial assistance to the hardwood industry.
The tariffs have drastic impacts on the U.S. economy, Jeppson, and other executives claimed. Many others claim that these tariffs may be damaging now but are imperative for the long term. The indication is shown by 67 percent of those who polled in Wisconsin and favored the tariffs despite the damage they are inflicting, while many others admit that they relied on China way too much.
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