Expanding Export Markets for U.S. Softwood Products
Helping industry organizations establish and grow sales around the world
SEC is reaching international buyers and end users through its new YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaA_XXfjf4PfZvW--6w8rrg. The channel features SEC and member videos including lumber grading tutorials and other educational and promotional videos.
The Softwood Export Council exhibited at the biennial Edifica trade show in Santiago, Chile. In addition to the standard display of US softwood samples, project videos, and photos of US softwood applications, the display included a sample preservative treated Douglas fir footbridge to promote the use of treated softwoods.
The booth was staffed by SEC Mexico and Chile staff and eleven association representatives and wholesalers from SEC and the Southern Forest Products Association. Traffic at the booth was relatively steady. The group collected 37 inquiries and fielded questions about US softwoods and the sample bridge.
Edifica is Chile’s largest construction and building materials show, covering 75,000 square meters and attended by over 40,000 construction professionals. The exhibit includes a range of products from heavy machinery to a variety building materials used in residential and commercial projects.
During the show, the group met with a buyer from Sodimac, a home center chain with 40 locations in Argentina, Brazil, United States, Chile, Peru, Columbia, Canada, Uruguay and Mexico. While Sodimac is working to grow the residential decking market, the buyer reported that due to the downturn in Chile’s economy since second quarter 2018, the company can meet its demand with domestic supply. He noted that Sodimac would consider imported species when demand increased.
The Edifica organizer held a daily seminar on a range of topics. Representatives from WWPI and Western Wood Structures who were part of SEC’s Chile ATP work, were included in the seminar and spoke about preservative treating chemicals, bridge design, and the efficacy of preservative treated wood in bridge applications.
While the seminars were somewhat disorganized and frequently late, they attracted large audiences and the SEC booth received several visitors as a result of our participation. In future, SEC will secure speaking slots well in advance of the show and work with our local contractor and the FAS-Santiago office to recruit attendees and increase awareness about the SEC booth.
Early this November, a group of SEC representatives attended the Edifica Exposition in Santiago, Chile to promote U.S. Softwoods. Both Iain MacDonald and David Stallcop both presented on the main stage of this event on behalf of SEC, and their talks centered on the inventive new ways wood is being used, and the far reaching implications of these modernizations. Below, Enrique Escobar introduces the speakers:
In his presentation, Iain MacDonald addresses the ways in which we are learning to build taller, focusing largely on CLT. He points out the benefits of building tall wood structures, both economic, in building time and labor needs, as well as environmental, as wood construction allows for carbon sequestration and is a natural, renewable resource. Iain also addresses the learning curves inevitable in new wood building methods, and offers solutions to many of those concerns with the research Tallwood Institute has completed.
Below, David Stallcop introduces a series of new products coming into the wood market, explaining the new, exciting wood products born often out of necessity. David discusses the origin of blue stain panelling, reclaimed wood from pallets, printing on wood with stain, and touches on multiple examples of prefabricated housing. In this lecture, David celebrates the energy of innovation as the driving force behind the future of the wood products industry.
In 2016, SEC partnered with the Cochran Fellowship Program to host groups from Egypt, Pakistan, & Peru, utilizing other FAS funds outside our core MAP and FMD programs. The Cochran Fellowship Program provides short-term training opportunities to agricultural professionals from middle income countries, emerging markets, & emerging democracies.
Cochran fellows come to the United States, generally for 2-3 weeks, to work with U.S. universities, government agencies and private companies. They receive hands-on training to enhance their technical knowledge and skills in areas related to agricultural trade, agribusiness development, management, policy and marketing.
Of these three groups, Pakistan is currently the largest market and the best immediate opportunity for U.S. softwood products. Pakistani demand for wood products has increased significantly in recent years, reaching 370,000 cubic meters in 2015. U.S. exports to this market are strong, reaching record levels and growing at an average annual rate of 47%. Pakistan has become the seventh largest market for U.S. softwoods and has set themselves up to be a major distributor in the Middle East region.
Cochran’s assistance in Peru was also invaluable, and with their financial assistance SEC prepared the most extensive educational programming to date, equipping the ten Peruvian representatives with knowledge about U.S. domestic and international lumber standards and codes: their development, testing, and compliance. Participants also attended the Greenbuild International Conference, with options for multiple seminars and walking tours centered around safety and sustainability. The technical information offered during this Cochran program allowed the Peruvians the knowledge to advocate for U.S. softwoods within their home country, potentially opening Peru’s building codes to include U.S. structural grades.
If your association is interested in hosting delegates from a specific emerging market, please let SEC know, as we have the ability to request market partnerships from Cochran administrators.