Vietnam¡¯s currency practices and timber imports to be
investigated ¨C IWPA issues statement
The United States has announced that it will investigate
Vietnam¡¯s acts, policies, and practices related to the
import and use of timber that is illegally harvested or
traded, as well as Vietnam¡¯s currency practices to
determine whether these actions are causing harm to US
The deadline for public comments is November 12. It is
expected that these investigations will continue into 2021.
International Wood Products Association Executive
Director Cindy Squires issued the following statement:
¡°The International Wood Products Association (IWPA)
supports effective, sensible means of addressing illegal
logging and promotion of sustainable forestry worldwide.
We intend to fully participate in the 301 process as it
unfolds and look forward to the opportunity to engage
with the administration.
¡°IWPA encourages active discussions between Vietnam
and the United States so that a resolution to this matter can
be achieved quickly to provide certainty for businesses.
Vietnam is an important trading partner for wood products
and a significant growing market for US hardwoods.
¡°It is important to keep in mind that if any illegally
harvested products are exported to the United States, the
Lacey Act and US obligations under the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna
and Flora (CITES) currently provide effective and targeted
tools for the US government to take action.
¡°IWPA has been active in international engagement to
combat illegal logging and has trained hundreds of
industry professionals on Wood Trade Compliance. IWPA
supports and will continue to provide businesses the tools
they need to stay compliant with all trade rules.¡±
The International Wood Products Association is an
international trade association for the North American
imported wood products industry, representing 220
companies and trade associations engaged in the import of
hardwoods and softwoods from sustainably managed
Tropical sawnwood imports rise for third straight
US imports of sawn tropical hardwood by volume gained
18% in August to notch a rise of more than 10% for the
third straight month. At 14,861 cubic metres, the volume
of tropical hardwood imported was down less than 7%
from August 2020, after trailing by large margins the past
few months. Year-to-date imports are down from last year
by 36% through to August.
Imports from Brazil fell by 5% by volume in August and
remain 20% behind 2019 year to date. Imports from
Ecuador rebounded in August, gaining 76% from a weak
July number, despite the rise, August volume was still
20% lower that August 2019 and imports are down 69%
year to date.
Imports from Malaysia dropped by 45% in August and are
down 41% year to date. Imports from Cameroon, Congo
(Brazzaville) and Ghana all gained in August but remain
well behind 2019 volume year to date.
Imports of jatoba rose 3% in August while ipe rose by 5%.
The volume of sapelli, cedro and acajou d¡¯Afrique all rose
sharply, yet imports for each of the three remain behind
2019 year to date totals by around one third. Imports of
balsa rose 51% in August but are down more than two
thirds year to date.
Canadian imports of tropical hardwood fell 29% in
August. The August total was down 62% from the
previous August volume, bringing year to date totals down
18% through August.
Hardwood plywood imports fall
US imports of hardwood plywood held somewhat steady
in August, with import volumes declining 4%. Year-todate
volumes are up 3% through August. Imports from
China fell 5% and are now about half of 2019 totals yearto-
Imports from Russia and Indonesia both fell by nearly one
third in August, but both remain well ahead year-to-date.
Import volumes from Vietnam grew by 34% in August
and are ahead by 17% year-to-date.
Veneer imports stagnated in August
After two strong months of growth, US import volumes of
tropical hardwood veneer fell 7% in August. Imports from
Italy, by far the leading supplier for the US, also fell by
7% for the month and are down 37% year-to-date.
Similarly, Import volumes from India were down by 9%
and are behind 20% year to date.
Imports from Ghana and Cote d¡¯Ivoire improved in
August but are both down by nearly two-thirds year-todate.
Total US imports of tropical hardwood veneer are
down 28% year-to-date.
Imports of assembled flooring stay near peak levels
After reaching a 10-year high last month, US imports of
assembled flooring panels fell a modest 3% by volume in
August. Despite the dip, imports for the month were
nearly 41% higher than the previous August, pushing yearto-
date totals for 2020 ahead of last year (up 3%) after
trailing badly for most of the year. Imports from China
rose 45% in August while imports from Thailand were
US imports of hardwood flooring rose for the third straight
month, gaining 8% by volume in August. However, yearto-
date imports are down by 30% through August and are
more than 10% behind for each of the top supplying
countries (Brazil, Indonesia, China, and Malaysia).
Despite a gain of 66% in imports from Malaysia in
August, year-to-date totals remain well behind, down
63%. Imports from China fell by 41% in August and are
down 56% year to date.
Moulding imports drop back to March level
After an encouraging July, US imports of hardwood
mouldings fell 28% in August, dragging numbers back to
where they were in March. August imports were 30%
below those of August 2019, bringing year-to-date totals
down 14% from last year.
Imports from China fell by 78% in August, overshadowing
a very strong rebound in imports from Brazil. Yet, despite
more than doubling in August, imports from Brazil are
down 60% year-to-date though August.
Wooden furniture saw strongest imports of the year in
US imports of wooden furniture rose by 10% by volume in
August to reach the highest level of the year at over
US$1.77 billion for the month. Imports are down 12%
year-to-date through August, but three straight months of
solid growth has brought imports to a pre-pandemic level.
Imports from Vietnam rose by 11% in August and are up
21% year-to-date. Imports from China are off by 46%
year-to-date but grew 3% in August. Imports from
Malaysia gained 18% in August and are ahead 40% yearto-
Cabinet sales increased in August
According to a press release from the Kitchen Cabinet
Manufacturers Association¡¯s monthly Trend of Business
Survey, participating cabinet manufacturers reported an
increase in overall cabinet sales of 4.2% in August 2020
compared to July. Custom sales increased 3.2%; semicustom
sales increased 0.1%; and stock sales increased
7.2% compared to the previous month.
Cabinet sales were also ahead of numbers from a year ago.
Sales were up 5.5% for August 2020 compared to the
same month in 2019. Custom sales are up 1.7%, semicustom
decreased 0.5%, and stock sales increased 10.5%.
Overall year-to-date cabinet sales are down 1.8%. Custom
sales decreased 3.3%, semi-custom sales decreased 7.1%,
and stock sales are up slightly at 2.2% year-to-date.