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Better Picture of Wood Flooring Imports Results from HTS Changes

Stuart HirschhornThe 2008 wood flooring import statistics reported by U.S. Customs shows a more complete picture of foreign sourced wood flooring in the U.S. because codes under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) have been expanded. The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) expanded the HTS codes in response to industry complaints and the data is now more specific with regard to engineered, solid and exotic species in flooring.

U.S. Customs reports that total U.S. wood flooring imports rose to $561 million and 258 million square feet in 2008. Without the new codes, reported imports would have been about 30% less, or $392 million and 184 million square feet.

However, we also know that the sales of these imported products dropped sharply during 2009 reflecting weak residential markets, the declining U.S. dollar, and the competitive advantage of U.S. suppliers offering timely shipments and products that are more likely to pass environmental requirements. This drop mirrors the weakness in the U.S. economy.

2009 Estimates for Wood Flooring Imports

Based on the first nine months of 2009, U.S. wood flooring imports are estimated to decline by 20.9% in dollars and 14.1% in square feet for the entire year. This is in line with the trend in overall U.S. wood flooring sales which is recounted in Catalina Floor Coverings Quarterly Update due out later this month.

On a dollar basis, the decline was sharpest among Brazilian producers. Dollar imports of Brazilian wood flooring dropped by 33.8% over the first nine months of 2009. Meanwhile, Chinese imports showed a decrease of 16.6% and Canadian shipments to the U.S. decreased by 9.2%.These declines are primarily due to the adverse affects of the U.S. economic environment and a weaker U.S. dollar.

Are Purchasers Turning To Domestic Products?

Although the weaker dollar makes foreign made wood flooring more expensive to U.S. purchasers, I also feel that the enactment of the Lacey Act and other environmental requirements have caused U.S. wood flooring purchasers to reconsider domestic suppliers.

I wonder how many of you in the industry are experiencing this and I would appreciate your feedback. If you feel like commenting please make a comment here or email me any time. Your opinion is valuable to me and this blog site is an easy way for us to connect on issues that are analyzed and reported by Catalina Reports.


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  1. The article tells about how the wood flooring codes are given under Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS). The statistical reports about the wood flooring imports is also useful for all the readers. But if an example is given on how you coded using HTS system then it will be more useful.


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