Phase one trade deal to be signed in January
The United States and China reached a Phase One trade
deal that requires structural reforms and other changes to
China¡¯s economic and trade regime in the areas of
intellectual property, technology transfer, agriculture,
financial services, and currency and foreign exchange,
according to the US Trade Representative.
The Phase One agreement also includes a commitment by
China that it will make substantial additional purchases of
US goods and services in the coming years. The deal is
expected to be signed in Washington the week of January
The partial trade deal, which was agreed to on Dec. 12,
calls for Beijing to purchase US$200 billion worth of US
products over the next two years, in addition to protecting
against intellectual property theft and technology transfer.
In return, the US has agreed to reduce its tariffs on
Chinese goods but will still levy duties against US$380
billion of those products. The United States will be
maintaining 25% tariffs on approximately US$250 billion
of Chinese imports including most wood products, along
with 7.5% tariffs on approximately US$120 billion of
Federal Reserve Study - Tariffs caused job losses and
The US strategy to use import tariffs to protect and boost
US manufacturers backfired and led to job losses and
higher prices, according to a US Federal Reserve study
released in late December.
While the tariffs did reduce competition for some
industries in the domestic US market, says the study, this
was more than offset by the effects of rising input costs
and retaliatory tariffs.
The authors of the study conclude that ¡°while the longerterm
effects of the tariffs may differ from those that we
estimate here, the results indicate that the tariffs, thus far,
have not led to increased activity in the US manufacturing
The top ten manufacturing industries hit by foreign
retaliatory tariffs were producers of: magnetic and optical
media, leather goods, aluminum sheet, iron and steel,
motor vehicles, household appliances, sawmills, audio and
video equipment, pesticide, and computer equipment.
Allegations of dumping of mouldings from Brazil and
The Coalition of American Millwork Producers has filed
petitions with the US Department of Commerce and the
US International Trade Commission seeking the
imposition of antidumping and countervailing duties on
wood mouldings and millwork from China and
antidumping duties on imports of these items from Brazil.
The petitioners estimate that US$350 million worth of
these products were imported to the US from Brazil in
2019 and US$215 million worth were also imported from
China. The US International Trade Commission is
expected to hold its first hearing on this petition in late
Imports of sawn tropical hardwood, hardwood
plywood, tropical veneers, flooring, mouldings and
wooden furniture all down in November 2019
US imports of sawn tropical hardwood fell by 25% in
November. At 16,572 cubic metres for the month, imports
were 16% lower than November of 2018. Import volumes
are ahead of 2018 by 14% year to date.
Imports from Ecuador were down by nearly 60% in
November and are now down 12% year to November.
Imports from Brazil, Malaysia and Congo (Brazzaville)
also fell in November but remain well ahead of 2018.
Jatoba imports, while rising only 2% in November,
remained steady as the highest volume of tropical
hardwood imported by the US in 2019. Jatoba imports are
up 95% year to date at 46,726 cubic metres through
November, which surpassed the amount of balsa
(previously the top species by volume) imported by the US
in 2018. Balsa imports fell by 60% in November and are
down by 12% year to date. Balsa had easily been the top
tropical hardwood imported by the US throughout the past
Despite falling in November, imports of sapelli and
keruing are up 19% and 36% year to date over 2018.
Imports of hardwood plywood fell by 24% in November
after a strong performance in October. Imports, at less than
188,000 cubic metres, were 20% lower than that of
November 2018. Year to date imports are 8% behind those
of last year. Imports from Russia fell by 16% in
November and are now 2% behind 2018 year to date.
Imports from China continue to slide, dropping 35% in
November and entering the last month of 2019 down 54%
year on year. Imports from Malaysia and Cambodia were
both down significantly in November and trail their 2018
year to date totals by nearly one third.
US Imports of tropical hardwood veneer also retreated
sharply in November from encouraging October numbers.
Imports were down 37% for the month as imports from
China also fell by 37%. Imports from Italy, which supplies
over one-third of veneer imports to the US, fell by 27%,
but are still ahead of 2018 by 5% year to date.
Imports from India were up sharply in November and are
ahead by 14% year to date. Imports from Cote d¡¯Ivoire
were off by 64% in November and are down by 25% year
US imports of hardwood flooring fell for the third straight
month, dropping by 14% in November. The decline
places year to date imports 3% behind 2018, after being
ahead for most of the year. Imports from China fell 8% in
November and are down 65% for the year to date. Imports
from Malaysia were up 23% for the month and are ahead
by 37% for the year.
Imports of assembled flooring panels also fell by 14% in
November and are 2% behind 2018¡¯s year to date pace.
Imports from China fell 38% and are down 45% year to
date. Imports from Vietnam rose 9% in November and are
more than doubling 2018 year to date.
US Imports of hardwood moulding fell again in
November. Imports were down 12% for the month and
trail 2018 numbers by 24% year to date. Imports from
Brazil were down by more than 55% in November and are
off by more than 50% year to date. Imports from China
were also poor, down 33% for the month and 45% year to
date. Imports from Malaysia filled some of the need, up
50% for the month and 12% year to date.
Imports of wooden furniture were down 4% in November
as imports from China continue to weaken. While down
only 3% from October totals, imports of wooden furniture
fell to a low in dollars not seen since March 2014.
Imports from China are down 30% year to date. Imports
from Canada, Mexico and Indonesia were down for the
month, while November imports from India and Malaysia