WASHINGTON – The Hardwood Federation issued a press release acknowledging the efforts of Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) to spur the continued investigation into the impact of imports on the U.S. hardwood plywood and wood flooring industries.

According to the Hardwood Federation, Wyden reviewed the International Trade Commission study, “Wood Flooring and Hardwood Plywood: Competitive Conditions Affecting U.S. Industries,” and concluded that more emphasis needs to be placed on the problems caused by illegal logging and unfair competition, especially from China.

The Hardwood Federation said the Lacey Act Amendments to the Farm Bill championed by Wyden will “go a long way to removing competitive disadvantages American producers currently compete against, particularly with regard to illegal logging enforcement.”

In a recently released statement, Wyden said, “ITC’s report barely scratches the surface when it comes to the problems caused by illegal logging and unfair competition from foreign wood products. On the plus side, the report makes clear that foreign countries such as China still make periodic use of subsidy programs contrary to their WTO obligations, which the U.S. needs to monitor closely. And the report identifies illegal logging as giving an unfair advantage to foreign producers. At the same time, the report gives little attention to serious consumer protection concerns, such as unsafe formaldehyde levels in some foreign wood products that’s far in excess of what’s in American products.”

Deb Hawkinson, executive director of the Hardwood Federation, said, “We are grateful to Senator Wyden for starting this investigation into the competitive conditions affecting U.S. hardwood businesses and putting American companies and jobs at risk. Our industry is committed to stamping out illegal logging and helping to pursue enforcement of current trade law and regulations. We’re looking forward to working with Senator Wyden, the new (Obama) Administration and Congress to continue to address these issues.”

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