Kuster, Pappas want tariff assistance

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas, both D-N.H., on Wednesday led a letter, signed by a bipartisan group of 38 members of Congress, to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue calling on the Trump administration to include the hardwood industry in any future trade mitigation assistance packages.

The letter follows the administration’s announcement of its latest trade mitigation assistance package on May 23. This package includes financial support to industries impacted by the escalating trade tensions between the U.S. and China. Prior to the levying of this tariff in September, China purchased 50% of U.S. hardwood grade lumber exports – approximately $2 billion worth of product.

Once the tariffs were in place, demand slowed, and the value of hardwood exports fell by $154 million per quarter as exports to China declined by 42%. These harsh economic conditions jeopardize small businesses and good jobs in communities across New Hampshire and around the country.

“We ask that hardwood producers be included in any future assistance packages the administration may undertake. China is by far the largest importer of American hardwood, and our trade dispute with the Chinese is ravaging this industry that supports jobs and communities across our country,” the bipartisan group of members wrote in the letter. “The impact of Chinese counter tariffs on hardwood, part of the escalating trade tensions between our nations, will be detrimental if a solution is not found.”