Prior to the trade and retaliatory tariff battle between the U.S. and China in mid-2018, the U.S. hardwood industry was exporting nearly $2 billion worth of product to China annually, accounting for almost 50% of the total U.S.-grade lumber produced.
According to the Hardwood Federation, those volumes made China by far the largest export market for American hardwoods and represented nearly 10 percent of total agricultural exports to China.
Beyond its contributions to the U.S. trade balance sheet, the U.S. hardwood industry also provided jobs in areas that are most in need of economic options. A 2018 economic study found 685,000 people were employed in the $135 billion hardwood industry.
Since the retaliatory action by the Chinese, hardwood exports are down 43% and the value of those exports has fallen by $615 million — or an average of $154 million a quarter.