West coast lumber exports to China nearly doubled in fourth quarter of 2012

Here’s the link to the PNW press release.

West coast lumber exports to China nearly doubled in fourth quarter of 2012

Over half of the West coast’s log exports shipped to China

PORTLAND, Ore. Feb. 19, 2013. Lumber exports to China from Washington, Oregon, northern California, and Alaska rebounded in the fourth quarter of 2012, jumping to 89.4 million board feet, an increase of 97.2 percent compared to the third quarter of the year, according to the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station. At the same time, total lumber exports to all countries from the West coast increased about 21 percent, from 185.6 million board feet in the third quarter of 2012 to 224.2 million board feet.

“China continues to maintain a dominant position in the log export market,” said Xiaoping Zhou, a research economist with the station who compiled the data. “Over 271 million board feet, or 60 percent of the West coast’s log exports, were shipped to China during the fourth quarter of 2012.”

Fourth-quarter total log exports from the West coast were over 4.4 percent higher than they were in 2011 because of a 19-percent increase in shipments to China.

Other highlights of 2012:

· The total value of lumber exported through the West coast increased about 17 percent to $156 million in the final quarter of 2012, while the total value of exported logs increased over 19 percent to $309 million;

· The total 2012 volume of logs exported from the West coast represents about 60 percent of the total U.S. log export;

· The total 2012 volume of lumber exported from the West coast represents about 29 percent of the total U.S. lumber export.

Zhou compiled the statistics using data from the U.S. International Trade Commission and Production, Prices, Employment, and Trade in Northwest Forest Industries, an annual station publication that provides current information on the region’s lumber and plywood production as well as the trade of forest products and employment in forest industries. To read the most recent version of Production, Prices, Employment and Trade online, visit http://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/42384.

11 thoughts on “West coast lumber exports to China nearly doubled in fourth quarter of 2012”

  1. A point for clarification: None of the logs exported came from the federal lands. A rule dating back to the late 70’s or early 80’s prohibits the export of raw logs from federal ground.

  2. Yes, true, but trees from federal land can be minimally processed (ie just run through a chipper, or squared off into cants) and then they can be exported to China whole hog….to assist the Chinesse Government with their efforts to take us over.

    Also, a case can be made that more federal trees must be cut down to make up for all the other forests we’re shipping to China.

    Of course, there are also major plans in the work to dig up all of Montana’s coal, ship it via 40 long coal trains daily through our communities day and night, take it to export docks on the west coast and then off to China it goes….to make the air in China even worst than it already is. Yep, these are some totally long-term, sustainable operations, I’m sure…..

    • OK, Matt, just HOW MUCH of Federal timber is exported this way, and where is your source?? *smirk* If we used Federal timber to make many things currently made out of plastic, the value of that wood would go up, I’m sure. Less would be exported if it was more valuable here. China will get wood from wherever it is cheapest. Chances are, they will get it from places with little to no environmental rules. Be careful what you wish for, because you might actually get it!

      • Larry, There’s a difference with what you are asking, compared with me asking you to ID a source or provide information with many of your claims.

        In this case, I’m making no such claim about HOW MUCH federal timber is exported via chipped logs or cant logs. So asking me to provide a source about it makes no sense.

        I’m only making a case that it’s allowed under the law. If I would have stated something like, “75% of all trees cut on national forests are exported as chips or cants to Asian” you’d have a point….but otherwise your smirky comment falls flat, right?

        Regarding some of your other comments, you stated, “China will get wood from wherever it is cheapest. Chances are, they will get it from places with little to no environmental rules.”

        OK, if that’s the case, and if it’s also true that US west coast lumber exports to China nearly doubled in the 4th quarter of 2012 what does that say about your statement?

        Must it be true that US lumber is awfully cheap for China to buy? Also, is it true that the US has little to no environmental rules and that perhaps we should stiffen the rules?

        I will also point out that these export figures from the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station only include the far west coast and don’t include the Idaho and Montana timber industry, which if you believe local news reports, are also shipping lots of forests to China.

        • Of course, if you ignore my statement about Federal wood going up in value….

          Just because it is legal to export processed Federal wood, does that mean it happens to a significant level?!?! Just where is your level of significance?? Apparently, that level is zero, eh?

  3. Been to a number of seminars on the topic, but I can’t remember the specifics.

    If I recall correct , I’m pretty sure the reason for China’s appetite for US logs is more a function of export prohibitions in other countries like Russia, for example. Someone will correct me if I’m wrong?…

  4. Excelent. You’re right JZ. Russia had put a tariff on raw log exports to encourage more “sawmilling” IN STATE. Not sure if it’s still on. British Columbia has been shipping a lot of wood to China…more than Russia right now. So let’s see…in 5-10 years exports from Canade will be cut in half from MPB and other…that’s 15% of U.S. supply…and China will soak up another few percent. Hmmm.

  5. This conversation brings up another issue. Is exported American wood “greener” than exported wood from other countries?? Is the world better off using wood from sources other than ours? Should we increase the price of our wood, reflecting its “greener” harvesting? Should we raise the price of wood to discourage more harvesting in our country?

  6. Just so you all know, I contacted the public affairs person and we may get some more information from the original author of this paper..

  7. Here’s what the author said:


    Lumber can be exported regardless of its source of logs. The definition of lumber for export is actually pretty broad.

    But other than for some exceptions (being declared excess to domestic needs) all log exports are from private timberlands (at least since the mid 1990s).


    Xiaoping Zhou, Ph.D.”


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