Blackburn, King Lead Colleagues Fighting For American Forest Products Industry in Global Markets

March 18, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Angus King (I-Maine) are urging the American trade representative to fight for American paper and pulp producers in the global market. In a bipartisan letter to United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai, the Senators expressed serious concern about the potential effects of the European Union Deforestation-free Regulation (EUDR) on the forest products industry, which collectively manufactures $350 billion worth of products per year and employs more than 920,000 Americans.

In 2025, the European Union is scheduled to begin enforcing the EUDR which could negatively limit market access for the American forest products industry -- the global leader in essential items like printing-writing paper, boxes, packaging, baby diapers, and toilet paper.

“While we applaud the EU’s commitment towards reducing deforestation, the EUDR, as currently written, presents significant compliance issues due to its stringency and ambiguity. One specific concern is the traceability requirement. The EUDR imposes a geolocation traceability requirement that mandates sourcing to the individual plot of land for every shipment of timber product to the EU. In the U.S., 42 percent of the wood fiber used by pulp and paper mills comes from wood chips, forest residuals, and sawmill manufacturing residues – wood sources that cannot be traced back to an individual forest plot. The EUDR traceability requirement will be nearly impossible for a significant segment of the U.S. paper and pulp industry to comply with,” the Senators wrote.

The Senators continued,
“As USTR continues to engage with European regulators, we urge the agency to seek clarity on the EUDR’s traceability requirements, data reporting, and country benchmarking. We ask that USTR encourage the EU to recognize that the United States has robust regulatory standards to protect the long-term health of U.S. forests. This will help American paper and pulp producers achieve compliance under these new standards and ensure that the United States and the European Union can maintain its mutually beneficial trade relationship in paper and pulp products.”

According to the North American Forest Foundation, more than one billion trees are planted each year in the United States and the total forest area increased by 18 million acres between 1990 and 2020.

Joining Blackburn and King on the letter are Senators Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), John Kennedy (R-La.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Katie Boyd Britt (R-Ala.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

A copy of the letter can be found here.