June was a month of activities for NHLA in China, which has been a key overseas target for American hardwood lumber exporters in recent years. China now accounts for more shipments than all the rest of the world put together. U.S. domestic sales are now running at 55 per cent by value and exports to China are 23 per cent with other markets in total accounting for 22 per cent; so NHLA is responding in force.
John Wang, Lorna Christie and Dana Spessert, NHLA in Qingdao, June 2017
In Qingdao at the 22nd AHEC Southeast Asia & China Convention, Executive Director Lorna Christie made her debut address at the pre-convention Press Conference attended by 50 members of the regional media. Thereafter she had the opportunity to network with many of the 600 delegates attending the main event. Lorna led the team at the NHLA showcase booth in Qingdao along with 40 U.S. hardwood exporters, the majority of which are NHLA members.
NHLA Chief Inspector Dana Spessert can now be considered an old timer in China, known by many, recognised by hundreds and meeting new importers and traders at every trip and event. As part of the AHEC convention programme he presented the NHLA Grading Rules to the delegates and was joined by John Wang, NHLA’s China Program Director, resident in Shenzhen.
The NHLA team then transferred to Shanghai for the third Sylva Wood. At this event NHLA grading demonstrations were conducted each full day by NHLA Inspector Roman Matiushchenko in English with a Chinese interpreter, to a full house and standing room only. At the booth copies of International Hardwood Matters and NHLA Inspection Services in the Chinese language were distributed.
Prior to these formal events, Christie, Spessert and Wang had made a tour of large distributors in the Qingdao area in north-eastern China. Summing up, Christie said this had been a great opportunity to witness at first hand the new normal – which is China – in a changing world to which NHLA in responding with teamwork.
NHLA in October
For Asian hardwood traders there is an opportunity to network with most of the U.S. hardwood industry under one roof, in Nashville in October at the NHLA Convention. It includes keynote speakers John Foley, former lead solo pilot of the Blue Angels discussing motivation and empowering organisations to sustain excellence under dynamic change and Eric Chester on finding, engaging and keeping great employees.
Following discussion of proposed NHLA lumber grading rules changes led by Chief Inspector Dana Spessert and Rules Committee Chairman Joe Synder, there will be lunch with 108 hardwood industry product and service companies inside the Exhibit Showcase. One key session will be “Demonstrating Sustainability in the Age of Big Data” with Rupert Oliver, Mike Snow and David Venables of the American Hardwood Export Council. The question of thermal modification and its use in the United States will be answered by Bror Moldrup, CEO of International Wood Technology LLC.
The future is coming at every industry faster than ever and no industry is exempt from the “uberisation” impact. Tom Morrison will ask the question “What’s Your Uber?”. The American Hardwood Export Council’s directors will discuss “Tomorrow’s Global Markets” for hardwoods. Special event activities including the Hardwood Forest Foundation Golf Tournament and Belle Meade Plantation Tour and Friday Night Closing Party will feature dinner and dance with opportunities for networking.
This article was first published in the Sept issue of Panels & Furniture Asia