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Exports of Hardwood Lumber and Plywood Subject to Assessment Under USDA Proposed Rule

Tuesday, June 09, 2015
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service is accepting through July 9 comments on proposed amendments to its 2013 proposal to establish a Hardwood Lumber and Hardwood Plywood Promotion, Research and Information Order. This program would seek to strengthen the position of hardwood lumber, hardwood lumber products, hardwood lumber value-added products and hardwood plywood in the marketplace and to maintain and expand markets for these products. The AMS has noted that the increasing use of imported wood and alternative materials, as well as other factors such as the U.S. housing crisis and increased recycling, have contributed to a significant decline in consumption of U.S. hardwoods over the past decade.

Hardwood lumber covered by the proposed order would mean timber from the wood of a cypress tree or a deciduous, broad-leafed tree (e.g., aspen, birch, poplar, yellow poplar, maple, cherry, walnut and oak) grown in the U.S. and sawn into boards or blocks by a sawmill in the U.S. Hardwood lumber products are used in residential and commercial construction and include flooring, furniture, moldings, doors and kitchen cabinets. Industrial hardwood products include pallets, wood dunning and railroad ties. Hardwood plywood products are used in manufacturing furniture and wood paneling. Hardwood lumber value-added products include solid wood unfinished strip flooring, all-sides surfaced boards, finger-jointed strips ripped to width, and moldings.

The proposed program would be financed by assessments that would initially be set at $1 per $1,000 in sales of hardwood lumber and hardwood lumber products; $0.75 per $1,000 in sales of hardwood lumber value-added products plus $1 per $1,000 in sales of green hardwood lumber, minus the dollar value of the green hardwood lumber purchases; and $3 per $1,000 in sales of hardwood plywood. Hardwood lumber manufacturers with annual sales of less than $2 million, hardwood plywood manufacturers with annual sales of less than $10 million, and organic and 100 percent organic hardwood lumber certified under the National Organic Program would be exempt from these assessments. Exports would be covered by the proposed program (the original proposed rule inadvertently stated that they would not), but imports would not.

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