Trade Debate Heats Up

Impacts of the ongoing trade disputes with the NAFTA countries (Canada and Mexico), the European Union and China are being felt by almost all manufacturing sectors, including agriculture and the hardwood industry.  The latest development occurred on July 10 when U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer released a proposed list of $200 billion in Chinese goods that will be subject to a 10 percent tariff in retaliation to China’s tariffs leveraged on U.S. goods in retaliation to previous tariff impositions.

Unlike past lists, wood products are predominantly featured in this latest group. The entire list of products may be viewed at the end the USTR’s press release. (Wood products being at the end of page 100). The final decision on whether or not to impose tariffs on this latest list will not be made for several weeks at least, but if the President is to reach his stated goal of imposing $500 billion in tariffs on China, most, if not all of the products included, as well as those already listed, will remain.

The Hardwood Federation is hearing more frequently from hardwood companies that they are feeling the pressures of this ongoing challenge. To date, the Hardwood Federation team has communicated to the Administration and to Members of Congress that they must move to quickly resolve the trade impasse and reach agreement with our trading partners in order to ensure stability in the marketplace. This is the same positioning most commodity groups are taking as they work to address the concerns of their memberships.

The Hardwood Federation has been actively engaged with a number of coalitions that are working together to push the Administration to move forward with negotiations with all our trading partners. We have also carried this message to numerous offices on Capitol Hill asking Members of Congress to do the same. Although it appears positive steps are being taken regarding NAFTA and the E.U., there is still uncertainty regarding exactly what final agreements will look like…and when they will indeed be final. The status of discussions with China remains unclear. This will almost certainly continue to be a priority issue for us in the coming weeks and months and will be a key issue for us during the Hardwood Federation Fly-In on September 12.

I know many of you have strong opinions and concerns about trade. Now it is your turn to tell Congress what you think as a hardwood industry leader. By using the link below you can send an e-mail directly to your Member of Congress telling them about the impacts on your company due to the current status of trade negotiations. This will help them be better informed during their conversations with the Administration and their peers on Capitol Hill.
https://www.votervoice.net/THF/campaigns/60209/respond

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