Congressman David Scott (GA-13), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, and Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson (PA-15), ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, this week sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to address the barriers of entry to global markets for U.S. lumber exporters.
In its opening, the letter reads: “Agricultural exports, specifically logs and wood chips, have grown significantly over the two past decades as an increasingly important component of the agriculture industry. According to the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC), forestry products are now the third leading U.S. agriculture sector after soybeans and corn. However, the United States is now being deprived of billions worth of export opportunities annually due to unworkable fumigation requirements.”
Chairman David Scott stated, “The economic output from the wood industry in Georgia and throughout the nation is enormous. If we don’t move fast on this, thousands of jobs and livelihoods will be at stake. It’s time we reassess the requirements that unnecessarily heighten trade barriers and help our forestry and lumber exporters access the commercially viable fumigation options they need to stay in business.”
“Unworkable fumigation requirements have placed severe limitations on log exports and that has resulted in job losses,” Ranking Member Thompson said. “I remain optimistic that USDA will recognize these impediments and prioritize sulfuryl fluoride as an accepted alternative to methyl bromide, so our exporters can compete in the global marketplace.”
A copy of the letter sent to Secretary Vilsack is available here.