An Analysis of the U.S. Wood Products Import Sector: Prospects for Tropical Wood Products Exporters
AbstractThe U.S. has dramatically altered its wood product imports and exports during the past few years,and at present, it is the second largest wood product importer in the world. Hence, an understanding ofmarket structures, factors in selecting foreign suppliers, and the emphasis placed on environmentalissues/certification are critical to understand from the perspective of wood products importers in the U.S.This study provides an analysis of the U.S. wood products import sector with special emphasis on currentand future opportunities for tropical wood products exporters to the U.S. market.In this study, 158 wood products importers in the U.S. were surveyed using a mailingquestionnaire. The adjusted response rate was 40.6 percent. Results indicated that most of the respondentswere small to medium scale firms, but major importers of wood products. According to respondents,wood products to the U.S. mainly come from Brazil, Chile, and China. From the importers’ perspective,Brazilian wood products ranked first for its quality followed by wood products from Chile and Finland.Product quality, long term customer relationships, on-time delivery of orders, fair prices, and supplierreputation were the factors deemed important in selecting overseas suppliers. Majority of respondentswere importing certified wood products. FSC, SFI, and ISO 14000 were the mostly accepted certificationprograms. However, certification was not a major factor in foreign supplier selection criteria. Whenconsidered the U.S. wood products importers’ tendency to diversify their products and species imported,attractive opportunities exist for wood products suppliers from tropical countries.
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