Pilot Program to Resume Virginia and South Carolina Forestry Products to China

Rebecca Blue, Deputy Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory programs at USDA toured several logging facilities earlier this week in an effort to show Chinese officials that USDA along with state partners Virginia and South Carolina were working to eliminate problems that caused the Chinese government to suspend shipments from those two states:

“We were able to negotiate a six month pilot program with them to get log exports resumed to China. It’s a huge industry in both Virginia and South Carolina so we are very excited to see things moving.”

Blue explains the importance of re-opening these forestry markets:

“Last year the US exported about $7.7 billion in forestry items. Twenty five percent of those landed in China. They are the second largest market for US timber, so its very important for us to get this export market open again. In Virginia alone, 144,000 people are employed in forestry related industries.”

The current situation is being referred to as a pilot program as opposed to a reopening of the Chinese market. Blue explains what will happen in about six months:

“Throughout the six month period, we will be using some enhanced requirements. China has agreed that after the pilot, if we have met all of the quarantine requirements they will formally reopen the market.”

According to Blue, all this is in an effort to keep the forestry and the ag sector economically strong:

“USDA remains committed to facilitating this agricultural trade. Our last fiscal year we reached a high of $137 billion dollars in agricultural exports. That supported 1.5 million jobs here in the US.”

Deputy Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory programs, Rebecca Blue

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