Hardwood lumber and wood products included in China trade deal

Wood products and other goods expected to be up 33 percent

President Donald J. Trump, joined by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, sign the U.S. China Phase One Trade Agreement Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, in the East Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

MADISON, Wis. -- The Phase One China trade deal announced on Wednesday, Jan. 15 at the White House included a wide variety of lumber and wood products in the broad category of manufactured goods in which sales to China are projected to increase by almost 33 percent.

A White House fact sheet regarding the US-China trade deal specifies “hardwood lumber” among manufactured goods where China has pledged to increase purchases.

The fact sheet specified that “China’s imports of U.S. manufactured goods, such as industrial machinery, electrical equipment, pharmaceutical products, aircraft, vehicles, optical and medical instruments, iron and steel, solar-grade polysilicon, hardwood lumber, and chemical products, among other goods, will total at least $120.0 billion in 2020 and at least $131.9 billion in 2021."

The hardwood mention is important because retaliatory tariffs by China (in response to President Trump’s imposition of tariffs on some goods from China) included a 25% tariff on oak. This had caused broad decreases in export to sales in China.

An economic development specialist who works on trade issues (including wood products) in the Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection said the specific mention of hardwood lumber is encouraging, but the specific trade impact is still hard to predict.

“However, it is encouraging to see hardwood lumber is mentioned specially under the Other Manufactured Goods section for China to import over the next two years by 2021”, Jennifer Lu said.

Lu said that The Hardwood Federation, American Hardwood Export Council, and a large number of industry leaders deserve credit for their work with government officials regarding the trade impacts on hardwoods of the competing tariffs.

Nathan Jeppson, chief executive of Northwest Hardwoods Inc., one of the largest U.S. producers of hardwood lumber, told the Wall Street Journal his company isn’t forecasting a near-term increase in purchases by Chinese manufacturers of furniture and other wood products.

“It is very much cautious optimism,” Jeppson told the paper. “We aren’t going to change anything about our production plans.”

The increase in “manufactured goods” is not apportioned among the various categories included in that term, but there is an anticipation of tariff reductions from both countries.

The wood categories specifically mentioned in the manufactured goods portion of the agreement (listed by HS code-- Census Bureau export and import) are below. (Categories listed may benefit from the trade deal, but there is no assurance that any specific manufactured good will be affected.)


“4401 Fuel wood, in logs, in billets, in twigs, in faggots or in similar forms; wood in chips or particles; sawdust and wood waste and scrap, whether or not agglomerated in logs, briquettes, pellets or similar forms

4402 Wood charcoal (including shell or nut charcoal), whether or not agglomerated

4403 Wood in the rough, whether or not stripped of bark or sap- wood, or roughly squared

4404 Hoopwood; split poles; piles, pickets and stakes of wood, pointed but not sawn lengthwise; wooden sticks, roughly trimmed but not turned, bent or otherwise worked, suitable for the manufacture of walking-sticks, umbrellas, tool handles or the like; chipwood and the like

4405 Wood wool (excelsior); wood flour

4406 Railway or tramway sleepers (cross-ties) of wood

4407 Wood sawn or chipped lengthwise, sliced or peeled, whether or not planed, sanded or end-jointed, of a thickness exceeding 6 mm

4408 Sheets for veneering (including those obtained by slicing laminated wood), for plywood or for similar laminated wood and other wood, sawn lengthwise, sliced or peeled, whether or not planed, sanded, spliced or end-jointed, of a thickness not exceeding 6 mm

4409 Wood (including strips and friezes for parquet flooring, not assembled) continuously shaped (tongued, grooved, rebated, chamfered, V-jointed, beaded, molded, rounded or the like) along any of its edges, ends or faces, whether or not planed, sanded or end-jointed

4410 Particle board, oriented strand board (OSB) and similar board (for example, waferboard) of wood or other ligneous materials, whether or not agglomerated with resins or other organic binding substances

4411 Fiberboard of wood or other ligneous materials, whether or not bonded with resins or other organic substances

4412 Plywood, veneered panels and similar laminated wood

4413 Densified wood, in blocks, plates, strips or profile shapes

4414 Wooden frames for paintings, photographs, mirrors or similar objects

4415 Packing cases, boxes, crates, drums and similar packings, of wood; cable-drums, of wood; pallets, box-pallets and other load boards, of wood; pallet collars of wood

4416 Casks, barrels, vats, tubs and other coopers' products and parts thereof, of wood, including staves

4417 Tools, tool bodies, tool handles, broom or brush bodies and handles, of wood; boot or shoe lasts and trees, of wood

4418 Builders' joinery and carpentry of wood, including cellular wood panels and assembled flooring panels; shingles and shakes

4419 Tableware and kitchenware, of wood

4420 Wood marquetry and inlaid wood; caskets and cases for jewelry or cutlery and similar articles, of wood; statuettes and other ornaments, of wood; wooden articles of furniture not falling within chapter 94

4421 Other articles of wood .”

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