The Hardwood Federation is reaching out to Members of Congress and asking them to sign the below bi-partisan letter asking that the U.S. Department of Agriculture add U.S. hardwoods to their recently announced relief package.
Please use the link at the bottom of this article to send a letter to your Member of Congress asking them to sign on to this letter to USDA Sec. Sonny Perdue.
June __, 2019
The Honorable Sonny Perdue
Secretary of Agriculture
United States Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20250
Dear Secretary Perdue,
We are writing to you to express our disappointment that hardwood lumber producers were not included in the Administration’s trade mitigation assistance package announced on May 23, 2019. It is our strong belief that this should be rectified in any future assistance packages the Administration may undertake. China is by far the largest importer of American hardwood, and our trade dispute with the Chinese is ravaging this industry that supports jobs and communities across our country.
The impact of Chinese counter tariffs on hardwood, part of the escalating trade tensions between our nations, cannot be understated. Prior to the levying of this tariff in September 2018, China purchased half of U.S. hardwood exports – approximately $2 billion worth of product. Once the tariffs were in place, demand slowed, and the value of hardwood exports fell by $154 million per quarter as exports to China declined by 42 percent. These losses are certain to worsen exponentially as the tariffs increase.
This dramatic shift in economic conditions holds severe ramifications for the 685,000 jobs that are supported by the hardwood industry. This includes hardworking Americans from mill yard workers to transporters, craftsmen, loggers, and foresters. With an excessive supply of hardwood now clogging the global marketplace, the ability of hardwood mills to continue their operations is jeopardized. Their closure would inhibit domestic consumers accessing finished products, while potentially allowing China and other international interests to simply buy raw hardwood at lower prices. In addition to weakening the hardwood industry, this aspect of the trade dispute endangers family tree farm operations that harvest timber responsibly to ensure healthy trees, land, and soil.
We are pleased that $100 million was made available in the recent mitigation assistance package for the international promotion of American goods. However, we feel strongly that the hardwood industry requires financial support akin to what other commodities impacted by current trade and tariff disputes are receiving. Its survival is critical to the health of our economy more broadly.
As we continue to encourage the Administration to seek a quick resolution to current tensions with China, we believe mitigation assistance is critical in the intermediary. We appreciate your attention to our request and look forward to your prompt consideration of this matter.
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