Sending Office: Honorable Ann M. Kuster
Sent By:
Sam.Cooper-Wall@mail.house.gov

Current Co-Signers: Kuster, Pappas, Delgado, G.T. Thompson, Brindisi, Westerman

Dear Colleague:

 

Please join us in a letter to the Department of Agriculture, urging that the hardwood lumber industry be included in any future trade mitigation assistance packages
arranged by the Trump Administration.

 

Across the United States, the hardwood industry has been severely impacted by rising trade tensions with China. By far the largest consumer of American hardwood
exports, China is critical to the success of this industry that supports 685,000 jobs. Sales to China have already declined by 42% and no doubt will worsen as higher tariffs are implemented. The assistance package announced by Secretary Perdue last month did
not include direct support to hardwood producers, despite the significant strain tariffs have placed on this industry.

 

Including hardwood in future aid would not only recognize the ramifications trade tensions are having on this critical industry, but would also help sustain the
jobs of mill yard workers, transporters, craftsmen, loggers, foresters, and more.

 

If you have any questions, or to sign on to our letter, please contact Sam Cooper-Wall in Rep. Kuster’s office at
Sam.Cooper-Wall@mail.house.gov or x5-5206. The
deadline to co-sign is Wednesday, June 26th.  

 

Sincerely,

 

Ann McLane Kuster               Chris Pappas

Member of Congress              Member of Congress

 

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 50% of U.S. hardwood grade lumber 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.

 

Sincerely,

Related Legislative Issues
Selected legislative information: Agriculture, Natural Resources, Trade
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