MEMPHIS – The National Hardwood Lumber Assn. (NHLA) officially opened its overseas office Monday, Jan. 12 in Shanghai, China. Bob Sabistina, previous NHLA Inspector Training School director and previous NHLA chief inspector, will oversee the Shanghai office. His work will be divided into three main areas:

1) Inspection services, including grade inquiries on specific loads and dispute resolutions.
2) Teaching and training of US hardwood lumber grades to the growing list of consumers in China and Southeast Asia in cooperation with the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC).
3) NHLA promotion and representation at industry meetings, tradeshows and various industry functions.

Mr. Sabistina has been working in Asia as a consultant for the (AHEC) since 2005, mainly conducting NHLA grading seminars. The move to a permanent office is a natural progression as the North American hardwood industry expands its search for hardwood lumber markets.

“The success of reaching those markets is dependent upon the differentiation of North American hardwoods from the rest of the products,” explained NHLA Executive Director Mark Barford.  “Our commitment to the Shanghai office shows our members, the industry and the global market that NHLA is moving forward with our new brand and refocused message – ‘Strong Roots. Global Reach.’”

The office will operate seasonally and is scheduled to be open from January 2009 until late spring. All international grade and inspection inquiries should be coordinated through NHLA Chief Inspector, Mark Horne. Horne can be reached by phone at (901) 377-1818, by cell at (919) 389-5089 or email at m.horne@nhla.com.

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