International Trade and Competitiveness
Paper and wood products exports account for about 15 percent of the industry’s annual total sales. In 2015, the industry’s global exports totaled about $30.3 billion, of which $8.9 billion were exports of wood products and $21.4 billion were exports of pulp, paper and packaging.
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 designed to generate substantive economic benefits to U.S. forest products companies and their workers. This includes indirect exports that result from increased domestic sales to U.S. companies in other sectors that would benefit from increased exports.
With multilateral trade negotiations at the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) at a standstill, bilateral and regional free trade agreements 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 advocates congressional approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement in order to achieve trade liberalization in the fast growing Asia-Pacific region. The agreement will eliminate all tariffs on forest products and reduce non-tariff barriers and other impediments to trade in the 12 TPP countries. 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. 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 encourages the administration to use existing international monetary and trade rules or, where necessary, strengthen international rules against currency manipulation by other countries. If necessary, Congress should pass responsible legislation that is compatible with the rules of the WTO.