Timber industry experts explain why China tariffs wouldn’t seriously impact East Texas markets

As a trade war between the U.S. and China continues into June, lumber mills and timber producers have reason to worry about what impacts tariffs could have on their industry. China is U.S. lumber’s biggest customer, and tariffs have cost the industry nearly half a billion dollars in just the last year.

However, Deep East Texas producers have had little to worry about in terms of production or sales.

“I think most land owners won’t see any effect in the near future; it’s hard to say what’s going to come over the next few years,” said Rob Hughes, director Texas Forestry Association in Lufkin. “In the near future, we’re not going to see any effect from it at all.”

The Texas Forestry Association reaches out to foresters, land owners, and mill operators to lobby and to be a voice for the industry. Hughes said the size and economic needs that come with the population size of Texas has everything to do with where many of the state’s resources go.

“Most of the products that are made here in Texas stay here in Texas, because of our population growth,” Hughes explained. “Most of what’s exported as far as forest products go is paper from the paper industry. There are some logs that are exported, mostly from the northwest.”

Hughes went on to explain that paper mills in East Texas may see a drop considering the amount of export, but even that would be minimal “two per cent or so,” Hughes added.

Elsewhere there’s a watchful eye on countries closer to Texas.

Stephen Raley, with Angelina Forest Products in Lufkin stated to the East Texas News, “At this point, Angelina Forest Products customers have not been negatively impacted by the China tariffs. They continue to monitor the potential Mexico tariffs as a number of our customers ship their finished southern yellow pine products into Mexico.”

The issue won’t be ignored.

“There’s no telling where it’s going to go, but as far as the near future and the way we do business, we’re watching it,” assured Hughes.

Source: KTRE