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Import Competition Prompts Proposal for Hardwood Lumber Promotion Order

Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service is considering a new program funded by assessments on domestic manufacturers to bolster the U.S. hardwood lumber industry. AMS notes 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.

AMS is inviting comments through Jan. 13, 2014, on a proposed Hardwood Lumber and Hardwood Plywood Promotion, Research and Information Order. The purpose of this program would be 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. A referendum would be held among eligible manufacturers to determine whether they favor implementation of the program prior to it going into effect.

According to AMS, hardwoods are timber from the wood of a cypress tree or a deciduous, broad-leafed tree such as aspen, birch, poplar, maple, cherry, walnut and oak. Hardwood lumber products used in residential and commercial construction 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 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, and $3 per $1,000 in sales of hardwood plywood. Hardwood lumber manufacturers with annual sales of less than $2 million, and hardwood plywood manufacturers with annual sales of less than $10 million, would be exempt from these assessments. Exports would also be exempt, and imports would not be covered.

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