June 23, 2022

DHA eNews - U.S. Imports Of Russian Hardwood Plywood Continue To Grow

This Week's Insights

Russian wood imports are up dramatically through April despite Russia's war, subsequent tariffs, and other policies. And, imports of birch plywood through Vietnam—likely Russian birch plywood—are up 206%. Unlike plywood imported directly from Russia, imports of birch plywood from Vietnam are coming in duty-free. Wood exports were one of Russia's largest industries prior to the war. The data suggests that more needs to be done to stop imports of Russian wood products.

Yet another example of the high costs of inflation and rising fuel prices: diesel prices are causing loggers to shut down. Markets are also likely to slow as home sales and new construction slow in response to higher mortgage rates. One continued bright spot in the economy may be remodeling, where hardwoods pay off for homeowners and, per a new study, provide "joy." In contrast, fake wood flooring has been linked to forced labor in China.

If you have questions or comments, contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.

Keith A. Christman, President
Decorative Hardwoods Association


U.S. Imports Of Russian Hardwood Plywood Continue To Grow

Despite the Russia-Ukraine war and subsequent tariffs, imports of Russian hardwood plywood grew by 44% in the first four months of this year vs. the same period last year. In April, imports directly from Russia appeared to have slowed a bit after the U.S. imposed tariffs, but imports of birch plywood from Vietnam grew by 206% to 427 million square feet through April. Russia is a likely source for a substantial amount of the imports of birch plywood from Vietnam.

Skyrocketing Diesel Prices Are Shutting Down Logging

Record-breaking diesel fuel prices are forcing some logging and trucking operations to shut down. Fuel was once 25% of the operational cost of running a truck. Now, that has increased to more than 60%. "When it costs $1,118 to fill up a logging truck, plus the other expenses to operate, there is not a profit at the end of the day." 

Fake Wood Flooring Linked To Forced Labor In China

Luxury vinyl tile, which is often designed to look like wood, is created from layers of thin plastic made with fossil fuels. A new report shows that very often, that plastic is produced using forced Uyghur labor.

Hardwood Pays Off & Increases "Joy"

The 2022 Remodeling Impact Report shows that hardwood projects had the highest payoff. Refinishing hardwood floors and installing new wood flooring provided a return on investment of 147% and 118%, respectively. Homeowners who invest in hardwoods and conversions of basements into living areas are most likely to more than recover costs when selling.

Russian Sawmills Will Curtail Production

The decline in Russian lumber export volumes due to EU sanctions, rising transportation costs, and a stronger ruble have made lumber production unprofitable in the northwest regions of Russia.

IKEA Will Sell Four Russian Plants

IKEA said its retail stores will remain closed and that it will cut its workforce and seek buyers for its four factories in Russia. IKEA has already ceased imports and exports of products to and from Russia and Belarus.

Source: Timber Industry News

U.S. Investigates Circumvention By Vietnamese Cabinet Suppliers

The U.S. Department of Commerce is investigating exports of cabinets from Vietnam with a total value of about $2.7 billion. The case was brought by the American Kitchen Cabinet Alliance, which represents several U.S. wood cabinet manufacturers.

KCMA Advocates For Extension Of Tariffs On Cabinets From China

The Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association is asking members to file comments with the U.S. Trade Representative urging the extension of Section 301 tariffs on U.S. imports of wooden cabinets, vanities, and parts from China. Kitchen cabinets from China are currently subject to duties of 25%.

U.S. Customs Overturns Cabinet Antidumping Ruling

U.S. Customs reversed its January 27 decision that found that a U.S. importer had evaded antidumping and countervailing duties on wooden cabinets and vanities from China. Betsy Natz, CEO of KCMA, stated that "KCMA is extremely disappointed that Customs has now reversed this determination of evasion."

Legislation Introduced To Address Classification Of Northern Long-Eared Bat

U.S. representatives have introduced the Endangered Species Act Flexibility Act of 2022 to address a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed rule to reclassify the northern long-eared bat from "threatened" to "endangered."

The 2022 Veneer Tech Craftsman's Challenge™ Is Open For Entries

DHA member Veneer Technologies has opened registration for the 2022 Veneer Tech Craftsman's Challenge™. The contest recognizes the creators of great veneer woodwork—and rewards the distributors and sales representatives who help woodworkers find the best veneer for their projects. First-time entrants are also eligible for a special $1,000 award.

Enter by July 1. All winners will be announced at the International Woodworking Fair in August.

Bespoke Closets Will Launch This Fall

Bespoke Closets, a new division of Burke Architectural Millwork, will offer high-end closets and organized spaces. Bespoke will target the luxury market and feature a dedicated design studio.

U.S. Housing Starts, Building Permits Fall Further Than Expected

Source: The U.S. Census Bureau (PDF)

Declining Builder Confidence Suggests Economic Troubles Ahead
Federal Reserve Accelerates Rate Hikes
Rapidly Rising Prices Of Building Materials & Freight Push Construction Costs Higher
Consumer Sentiment Drops 14% To 50.2
Housing Starts Decline 14.4%
Tree Quiz: Test Your Knowledge

What's the oldest tree on Earth, and will it survive climate change?

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