MarginUp Web Services

          The platform that enables you to take advantage of global supply chain

This Blog


Global Trade

The Impact of the Wood Industry on Global Trade

Veneers, plywood, timber. Look around your home and office and you will find much of what surrounds you is made of wood. From the desk that takes up your workspace to the framework supporting your walls, the wood products used provide an important element to your existence. Around the world, many economies rely on the timber industry to maintain strong supply chains - the companies who cut and refine the timber for distribution, the manufacturers who build the product, and the retailers who sell the finished work.

The state of the wood industry may vary according to the economy. In the United States, for example, the National Wood Flooring Association indicated that their branch suffered in conjunction with a decline in housing and construction. An economic rebound, naturally, should bring improvement. Sales of wood are often dependent upon other facets of a country's economic health, specifically real estate and commercial growth. When both are strong, consumers are more likely to spend money for new products.

Quick Facts About the Wood/Timber Industry

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations:

  • The forestry industry grossed approximately $160 billion internationally. That number is expected to double by the end of the decade.
  • Illegal logging is a major concern. It is estimated that countries lose several hundred billions of dollars a year as a result.
  • Over 13 million people work in the timber industry globally, and produce over 120 million cubic feet of wood for commercial use.

Major Exporters of Timber/Wood Products

Top global wood exporters vary according to product and type of wood. They include:

  • China - A leader in manufacturing, China imports raw wood primarily from Russia and exports finished product around the world, over a trillion dollars annually combined with other exports.
  • Canada - Known for its lush forests, Canada relies heavily on the timber industry but also practices sustainability in order to keep the trees growing. Where the United States was once a primary trade partner, China recently surpassed the US as top importer and helped the country create more jobs.
  • Russia - Russia exports close to a billion dollars' worth of softwood annually to Europe and China.

Major Importers of Timber/Wood Products

Many importers take raw wood in order to manufacture and sell domestically or abroad. They include:

  • The United States - The US imports timber from Canada, mainly softwood, and products from China.
  • Japan - With reconstruction still underway in the country following recent disasters, Japan continues to import wood for construction. Canada is one major exporter to the country.
  • Mexico - Mexico brings in more than half of its timber exports from Chile.

The Future of the Industry

Naturally, a major concern in the timber industry is the supply of natural resources. Trees, unfortunately, do not grow as quickly as they are cut, therefore companies continue to look into sustainability programs to take the industry into the future. In the United States, for example, companies look to softwood from younger trees as a means of meeting demand. In developing nations like Ghana, companies have met with opposition from farmers who object to growing timber and in turn depleting other resources. One must also factor natural obstacles like weather and disease to determine the future of this industry.

As global economy improves, so will the demand for wood materials. How well the individual businesses tied to the industry do depend on solid product.


No Comments