International Trade and Competitiveness
Paper and wood products exports account for more than 15 percent of the industry’s annual total sales. In 2014, the industry’s global exports totaled about $31.9 billion, of which nearly $9.7 billion were exports of wood products and $22.2 billion were exports of pulp and paper.
AF&PA supports free and fair trade. In an increasingly globalized market, it is critical for the U.S. paper and wood products manufacturing industry to achieve unrestricted access to international markets and level the playing field among international competitors by eliminating both tariff and non-tariff barriers.
AF&PA supports trade agreements that are expected to generate substantive economic benefits to U.S. forest products companies and their workers. This includes indirect exports as a result of increased domestic sales to U.S. companies in other sectors that would benefit from increased exports.
With the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Doha Round negotiations at a standstill, free trade agreements (FTAs) offer better opportunities for achieving the industry’s trade and competitiveness objectives – including the speedy elimination of foreign tariffs and non-tariff barriers. Therefore, AF&PA supported the negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership FTA in anticipation of achieving trade liberalization in the fast growing Asia-Pacific region. AF&PA also supports the free trade negotiations with the European Union, called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. This trade deal provides an opportunity to eliminate tariffs, non-tariff barriers and regulatory impediments to trade in one of the top export markets for U.S. forest products.
AF&PA supports the elimination of market-distorting subsidies and other financial support provided by foreign governments for new manufacturing, for existing unsustainable manufacturing capacity and for wood fiber used in the manufacture of forest products. We believe that these practices distort markets for forest products and put increased pressure on forest resources. AF&PA looks for opportunities to achieve subsidies discipline in bilateral and multilateral negotiations and work with our partners in the global forest products industry to ensure that global markets for forest and paper products are open, fair and competitive.
AF&PA supports legislation that would require the administration to use existing international monetary and trade rules or, where necessary, strengthen international rules against currency manipulation by other countries. We encourage Congress to pass responsible legislation that is compatible with the rules of the WTO.