A mail survey of Appalachian hardwood product exporters was conducted in the fall of 2008 to analyze the export practices for Appalachian hardwood products, specifically the volume of hardwood products exported to the Chinese market, their preferred species, and potential and existing trade barriers between US producers and Chinese customers. Results of the survey showed that the most frequent export destinations of Appalachian hardwood products were Europe, China, Canada, Mexico, and Japan. In 2007, approximately 11.4 million board feet (MMBF, Doyle scale) of hardwood logs and 145.3 MMBF of hardwood lumber were exported to China by the respondents. Approximately 37 percent of the respondents who exported hardwood products to China exported red oak logs, followed by white oak, black walnut, black cherry, and hard (sugar) maple. The top species of hardwood lumber exported to China were red oak, white oak, yellow poplar, black walnut, hickory, cherry, hard maple, and soft maple. Respondents indicated that transportation freight costs and payments are the limiting factors when considering expanding business overseas. The continued decreasing hardwood price has put more pressure on hardwood products exporters to maintain profit margins. Because of the current economic downturn, hardwood production in the Appalachian hardwood region has declined by more than 40 percent. Exports of hardwood products to China will be affected to some extent. However, it is expected that China will remain an important overseas market in the near future.

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Author notes

The authors are, respectively, Associate Professor, Graduate Research Assistant, Assistant Professor, and Associate Professor, Div. of Forestry and Natural Resources, West Virginia Univ., Morgantown (jxwang@wvu.edu, jwu4@mix.wvu.edu, David.DeVallance@mail.wvu.edu, Jim.Armstrong@mail.wvu.edu). This manuscript is published with the approval of the Director of West Virginia Agric. and Forestry Experimental Sta. as Scientific Article No. 3069. This paper was received for publication in October 2009. Article no. 10694.