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Watch Out for State Bills that Could Impact Your Business

Posted By Cindy L. Squires, Esq., Sunday, June 9, 2019
Updated: Friday, October 4, 2019
It is easy to get wrapped up in what’s happening in Washington, D.C. Even with a strong economy and record low unemployment, the federal government keeps racking up debt at a break neck pace. And even though the Trump Administration has placed a huge priority on cutting wasteful regulations, according to a recent analysis by The National Review the federal government still issued more than 3,300 regulations in 2018 alone. But several recent develops that could impact the North American imported wood products industry have shown that it is also important to know what’s happening in statehouses around the country.

Nowhere is this clearer than in California, the state that gave us Prop 65 and the composite wood products airborne toxic control measure that is more commonly known as CARB 2. IWPA members who sell to contractors involved in state procurement in California were notified early this year about Assembly Bill 572, the California Deforestation-Free Procurement Act. This legislation would require, beginning in 2021, that companies involved in state procurement contracts certify that certain forest-risk commodities such as palm oil, beef, leather, rubber, cocoa, coffee, and wood products were not produced on land where tropical deforestation occurred. Opposition has come from the California’s commercial and industrial building contractors who argue that imposes burdensome and unworkable criteria, particularly when documenting complete supply chains for products not purchased directly from the source.

In New York, the legislature has approved legislation that would ban a number of chemicals including formaldehyde in children’s products. What some surely well-meaning legislators failed to grasp, however, is that many healthy products like wood naturally emit low levels of formaldehyde. Our hope is that reason will prevail, and an accommodation can be made for children’s products that contain wood and TSCA VI/CARB 2 compliant composite wood products before the ban goes into effect in 2023.

There’s always the chance that these proposals are one-offs, pet issues for a state lawmaker or interest group in a given state. And there is no question that our industry has plenty of pressing national and international issues like the trade war between the U.S. and China, congressional consideration of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, and proposals to list additional tree species on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. But the risk is that these bills could serve as the model for similar legislative proposals in other states.

These bills show that our collective attention must be focused not only on the national and international levels, but also on statehouses across the country.

Tags:  California  CARB 2  China  Prop 65  TSCA VI  U.S.-Mexican-Canada Agreement 

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Staying Nimble is the Key to Success

Posted By Cindy L. Squires, Esq., Sunday, April 7, 2019
Updated: Friday, October 4, 2019
Even with a strong economy, threats to your business can be right around the corner. Being nimble is the key to success in today’s wood products market.

In March, the TSCA Title VI import certification for composite wood products came online. At press time it appears that President Trump is on the verge of a huge trade deal with China that could eliminate the additional 10% tariffs on imported wood products from that country. In late May, IWPA staff will be traveling to Colombo, Sri Lanka to advocate on behalf of our industry at the 18th meeting of the CITES Conference of the Parties where the assembled countries will consider proposals to further regulate the trade in species such as Ipé and the genus Cedrela.

In addition to these issues that have been years in the making, there have been recent developments that even industry insiders may not be aware of. Formaldehyde may come under review by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as part of the TSCA chemical risk evaluation process. EPA is expected to release its list of 20 high priority chemicals that will be subject to risk assessment in late March. This process could eventually lead to the addition of restrictions on use of formaldehyde.

IWPA has already alerted members about another emerging issue that we have seen gaining some traction both at home and abroad is the desire to prevent or disincentivize procurement of even certified tropical timber species. The California Assembly is considering legislation that would require a deforestation-free certification for a range of agriculture products being procured for state projects. How this certification would be made and verified is not at all clear from the legislative text. A group of Scandinavian countries that came together to promote the Nordic Swan ecolabel has proposed an extensive list of timber species that would be ineligible for the label. It is troublesome that even certified legally- and sustainably-harvested wood products would be excluded from eligibility.

Meanwhile, pressure for congressional approval for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is building. IWPA has joined over 300 industry associations in a coalition to support its passage.

IWPA works with our members and groups that share our passion for beautiful and high performing wood products to advance our mission of building acceptance and demand for the sustainable products our members supply in the North American market. The support of our members allows us to be a strong voice standing up to ill-conceived proposals that would have profound impacts for our industry. Just as important is the role we play in warning members about unforeseen risks that could be looming over the horizon.

If you are not already a member of IWPA, please reach out to us to discuss how we can help ensure your company remains nimble in the face of oncoming challenges.

Tags:  Cedrela  China  EPA  Formaldehyde  Sri Lanka  Tariffs  TSCA VI  U.S.-Mexican-Canada Agreement 

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