Exports of Southern Pine lumber to China are soaring, thanks to promotional efforts funded by the USDA's Market Access Program (MAP).
Southern Pine lumber exports to China are expected to reach $54 million this year, a ten-fold increase since the U.S. wood products industry began promoting this species, grown in the southeastern United States. Meanwhile, Chinese demand for pressure-treated Southern Pine lumber, a key value-added item produced in the U.S., is forecasted to reach $15 million this year, an all-time sales record and 245% above levels five years ago.
The Southern Forest Products Association (SFPA), a nonprofit trade association representing Southern Pine lumber manufacturers, leverages USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)-administered Market Access Program (MAP) funds to promote Southern Pine lumber exports. This funding allows the U.S. forest products industry to expand sales in existing markets and enter new emerging markets. Over recent years, MAP funds have helped SFPA sponsor exhibits at trade fairs and to translate technical product literature into Chinese.
As a result, interest in Southern Pine lumber has grown sharply: U.S. companies participating in MAP-sponsored events last year reported immediate sales of nearly $2.2 million and estimate another $16.5 million in sales over the coming months, thanks to contacts made at the trade events.
Dozens of small, family-owned sawmills and exporters are seeing their sales to China grow since SFPA began promotions in China. Many companies have arranged their first-ever export sales in the Chinese market thanks to MAP-sponsored events. The programs are vitally important to small businesses in the U.S., helping them diversify into markets that they otherwise would not have had the resources to develop on their own.