The Wood Component Manufacturers Association works with industry groups for the betterment of the North American woodworking industry, while keeping members informed of relevant issues that impact their businesses. On the radar are:
Proposed Hardwood Checkoff Program: Hardwood groups continue to battle over the need, and/or feasibility of the collective marketing program. Meanwhile, the USDA said it is once again seeking public comments on the latest amendments, including clarifications on the eligibility and exemption requirements, and that the review will not be limited to sales within the United States.
Similar to programs such as “Got Milk,” “Beef, It’s What’s for Dinner” and “Pork, the Other White Meat,” the hardwood checkoff program would be a collective marketing effort funded by the lumber producers and run by an industry-governed board; coordinated through the USDA. Under the Hardwood Checkoff proposal, funding for the program would come from sawmills producers and kiln-operating facilities with annual sales in excess of $2 million. These companies would be required to pay $1 per $1,000 on sales on the raw product. Value-added – though still considered unfinished – products, such as unfinished strip flooring, mouldings, dimensioned components, S4S, etc., will also be subject to a checkoff fee, but at a reduced rate of $0.75 per $1,000 in sales. (FederalRegister.gov, HardwoodCheckoff.com, NoHardwoodCheckoff.com)
U.S./Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement: The Softwood Lumber Agreement between the U.S. and Canada is set to expire in October, marking the end of the two-year extension. The agreement prohibits Canadian federal and provincial governments from providing subsidies to the Canadian lumber industry. In place since 2006, the agreement helped level the playing field, controlling prices while allowing Canadian goods to enter the U.S. relatively duty-free.
Lacey Act: The Lacey Act makes it illegal to trade plants and plant products including wood, harvested or traded in violation of the laws of a foreign country. It also requires importers to file a declaration naming the country of harvest and the genus and species of plants contained in their products. Reintroduced in April, the FOCUS Act of 2015 (Freedom from Over-Criminalization and Unjust Seizures) would remove the references to “foreign law” within the Lacey Act and substitutes criminal penalties with a civil penalty system. (FWS.gov)
Formaldehyde/CARB: Formaldehyde has been in the news recently, particularly as it relates to laminated wood products. The EPA looks to finalize a regulation by late 2015/early 2016, but until then, many states are guided by the rigorous standards set by California. The Phase 2 emission standards currently in effect range from 0.05 ppm for hardwood plywood and 0.13 ppm for thin MDF. The requirements apply to all products sold, supplied, used, manufactured or imported for sale in the state. (ARB.ca.gov/Toxics/Compwood/Compwood.htm)
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