Dear Secretary Perdue:
Last month, the Chinese government made a capricious decision to impose unnecessary regulatory hurdles for the import of American logs into China. This decision is highly disruptive, not only to the more than $1 billion in annual log shipments from the United States to China, but also to the upstream jobs from loggers to truckers and more that these shipments support.
On April 27th, the Chinese government announced a change in the enforcement of phytosanitary certificates that took effect at midnight that same day. This change in policy happened overnight without proper notice to exporters. As a result, millions of dollars worth of products are stuck in ports or already en route to China.
We commend the efforts of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to seek a quick resolution, especially for the shipments now en route. Failure to get a workable solution in place will leave U.S. shippers' unpaid, cargoes abandoned, or detained and destroyed.
At a very minimum, a reasonable transition period for China's new enforcement must be finalized to allow these shipments that were en route at the time of the announcement clear the ports. Secondly, for the longer term, a more transparent import protocol, based on reasonable processes and science based phytosanitary requirements must be developed and agreed upon.
As you continue trade negotiations with China, we urge you to insist on a fair resolution to this problem, both in the short and long terms. We further look forward to hearing from you regarding the status of this important negotiation