Forestry Making Comeback in Pacific Northwest

Free Trade Deal with Europe Helps Forest Sector
Forestry exports from the Pacific Northwest to China and Japan have increased.
Forestry exports from the Pacific Northwest to China and Japan have increased.

Exports to Japan and China Fuel Growth

PORTLAND OR – Business – Forestry is making a comeback in the Pacific Northwest. The growth is based on a major jump in exports to China. “Demand from China is the major reason for the increase in west coast log and lumber exports we saw in 2013,” said Xiaoping Zhou, a research economist with the station who conducted the analysis and compiled the data. “However, other Asian countries, like Japan, also increased their wood product imports from the west coast as well as from the remainder of the United States.”

Log and lumber exports from Washington, Oregon, northern California, and Alaska increased by 20 percent in volume in 2013 compared to 2012, the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station is reporting.

The total value of these exports also jumped, by nearly 37 percent for log exports and by 23 percent for lumber exports.

Compared to 2012, China increased its imports of west coast logs by 48 percent and of west coast lumber by 45 percent in 2013. Last year, total U.S. log and lumber exports to the country increased by more than 35 percent.

Other 2013 year-end highlights:

  • Total U.S. log exports in 2013 increased by over 19 percent in volume compared to 2012, while the value increased by more than 25 percent;
  • Total U.S. lumber exports in 2013 increased about 12 percent in volume compared to 2012, while the value increased by 18 percent;
  • West coast lumber exports in 2013 represented 31 percent of the total U.S. lumber export in volume, compared to less than 29 percent in 2012;
  • West coast log exports in 2013 represented 60 percent of the total U.S. log export in volume, less than a 1-percent increase from the 2012 level, while the value share increased to 59 percent, compared to 54 percent in 2012.
  • At west coast ports, 63 percent of outgoing logs and 40 percent of outgoing lumber were destined for China in 2013, compared to 58 percent of logs and 33 percent of lumber in 2012.

Fourth Quarter 2013 Highlights

West coast log exports decreased by nearly 11 percent to 459 million board feet in the fourth quarter of 2013, compared to the previous quarter, and totaled $348 million. Lumber exports increased slightly, by 4 percent in volume, and totaled 291 million board feet, worth $207 million.

China imported 297 million board feet of west coast logs, a decrease of 9 percent compared to the third quarter of 2013, and 131 million board feet of west coast lumber, a 13-percent increase.

Zhou compiled the statistics using data from the U.S. International Trade Commission and Production, Prices, Employment, and Trade in Northwest Forest Industries, an annual station publication that provides current information on the region’s lumber and plywood production as well as employment in forest industries.

The 2012 report is available online at

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