WASHINGTON - The trade war is having a major effect - causing a $53 billion decline in U.S. imports from China and a $14.5 billion decline in exports to China, according to recently released trade data. Both drops are just looking at the first nine months of the year.

The numbers appear to be drastically in the favor of the United States. But because the U.S. exports much less to China than it imports, the smaller drop is actually a bigger percentage drop (15.5 percent from last year) - compared to a 13.5 percent decline for Chinese imports.

Chinese furniture exports to the U.S. fell in miscellaneous wood furniture (down 19 percent), wood seats (down 21 percent), and upholstered wood chairs (down 13 percent).

China's fall has led to the rise of other countries, particularly Taiwan, Vietnam and Malaysia, who all saw huge gains.

China, the world's second-biggest economy, grew 6 percent in the third quarter - its slowest pace on record.

There currently isn't a plan to rollback any tariffs. President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping were supposed to meet at APEC Chile 2019 on November 16-17, but the event was cancelled due to protests. 

If a deal can't be reached, the planned December 15 tariff hike will likely happen.
 
Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows U.S. exports of hardwood lumber to China have fallen 40 percent so far this year. The drop appears to have begun soon after China placed retaliatory 25 percent tariffs on imports of lumber and other wood products.
 
Many U.S. hardwood lumber firms have seen reduced demand, and have had to make cutbacks and eliminate jobs. Gutchess Lumber, Baillie Lumber, and Northland Corp. all told the Wall Street Journal that demand has decreased from the same time last year. Baillie and Northland have been forced to lay off workers. Gutchess reduced overtime and suspended 401(k) contributions. Northwest Hardwoods said it shut down one of its Washington sawmills because of the trade war, it said.
 
Still the tariffs remain polarizing. Many see them as a necessary longterm approach. We will see what happens.

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