|Information provided by CPA provides an historical comparison of U.S. and Canadian
particleboard shipments. 2009 shipments are extrapolated based on data from 89.5% of
the U.S. industry and 97.8% of the Canadian industry.
(Mexican data has been censored due to a low response rate.)
|Information provided by CPA provides an historical comparison of U.S. and Canadian MDF
shipments. 2009 shipments are extrapolated based on data received from 80.9% of the U.S.
industry and 92.8% of the Canadian industry.
Challenges & Opportunities
While expressing some optimism for 2010, there are still challenges to be faced. The biggest challenge to the composite panel industry, Julia says, is access to wood fiber. âWithout ready access to this fiber, and without it remaining affordable, the composite panel industry, all its customers, and the hundreds of thousands of jobs affected in the U.S. alone, are at risk.
âCPA has taken the lead in opposing the federal governmentâs Biomass Crop Assistance Program, through which the U.S. Department of Agriculture is trying to dole out $514 million in taxpayer subsidies in a manner that will divert the very wood fiber the composite panel industry depends on and instead let it be burned as fuel. It is among the most poorly conceived public policies imaginable, and must be changed so it accomplishes its goal of fuel diversity without hurting domestic jobs and consumer choices,â he says.
Also weighing on the composite panel industry is the regulation of formaldehyde emissions. âThe challenge is to finally put the issue of formaldehyde emissions from industry products to rest, and to give regulators and consumers full confidence that everyone in the affected industries is doing the right thing. We believe this can best be done by extending the CARB rule to the entire nation, as is contemplated by S.1660, the federal bill championed by CPA, the Sierra Club and many other groups throughout the supply chain. If passed by the Senate and House of Representatives early this year, this important legislation will give the U.S. EPA the necessary structure and direction to formulate a rulemaking later this year such that a national standard will be in place sometime in 2012,â Julia says.
While the composite panel industry combats challenges on the home front, many of the hardwood plywood and veneer industriesâ problems are coming from abroad. âThe biggest challenges we face are continued penetration of imports in the engineered panel market,â says Howlett. âFor the veneer industry, export market barriers restrict some markets from U.S. produced veneer. Log exports of U.S. hardwoods have resulted in more veneer of U.S. hardwoods sliced in China than is being sliced in the U.S.â
Howlett also cites the LEED systemâs âbias against wood because LEED is not based on a life cycle approach (LCA),â as a challenge to be faced by the industry. âOther systems which utilize LCA-based approaches provide a great opportunity for hardwood products. Engineered products add the benefit of better product yields. Climate change and the need to reduce the carbon footprint benefit all hardwood products because production residues can be used in other wood products or for bio-based renewable energy.â
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