Reuters: Add Hardwood to the Growing List of U.S.-China Trade Grievances

October 27, 2017

Add hardwood plywood to the growing list of trade gripes that the U.S. has with China.

U.S. senators and members of Congress are urging the International Trade Commission to rein in Chinese shipments of hardwood plywood that they say are hurting American manufacturers, two letters show. Producers in the Asian country benefit from subsidies and illegal logging that give them an unfair advantage over U.S. workers and end up costing American jobs, according to an Oct. 24 letter signed by U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Shelley Moore Capito and 13 other senators.

“We urge the Commission to ensure a level playing field,” according to a Oct. 24 letter signed by House Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden and 32 other members of Congress.

In November, the Coalition for Fair Trade of Hardwood Plywood filed a petition asking the government to “confront China’s unfair trade practices.” The group alleges Chinese producers of hardwood plywood receive illegal government subsidies, such as tax breaks, which have enabled them to capture a growing share of the U.S. market.

Criticism of China’s practices remains a central part of the Trump administration’s policies on trade, which have emphasized “fair” over “free” as the president pushes for renegotiation of existing pacts in the name of “America First.” The U.S. Trade Representative’s office has said it will fight distortions caused by China’s economy, and the Commerce Department has been investigating whether steel and aluminum imports represent a threat to national security.