REPORT: Trade war takes a toll on U.S. hardwood mills

China buying hardwood from other markets, including Russia.

BY HBSDealer Staff

The trade war between the United States and China is impacting exports from domestic hardwood mills.

And now those mills are starting to cut jobs, according to a report by CNBC.

U.S. lumber exports to China are down as much as $615 million compared to a year ago, the American Hardwood Export Council reported, with trade volume about half of it was last year.

This includes hardwood used in the manufacturing of cabinets, flooring, doors and furniture.

China is now buying hardwood from other markets, including Russia, Southeast Asia and Central Africa.

In the meantime, mills are shutting down while laying off workers. Northwest Hardwoods, based in Tacoma, Wash., is closing its Mount Vernon mill in November along with a Virginia plant. In addition to corporate cuts, the moves will result in more than 100 employees losing their jobs.

“We saw an immediate response from Chinese buyers,” CEO Nathan Jeppson told CNBC. “Our business, much like the rest of the industry, is highly dependent and has forged a large relationship selling into the Chinese market, and since the middle of last year, if you just look at year on year, sales are off 43% in total exports to China.”


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