U.S. hardwood exports to India reach all-time high

Total value of American hardwood lumber and veneer exported totaled USD 8.618 million in 2022

U.S. hardwood exports to India reached an all-time high in 2022 with the value of hardwood lumber and veneer exports totaling USD 8.618 million, according to AHEC. The statistics, which have been compiled from the latest data released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), were announced yesterday (March 2, 2023) at the opening of DELHIWOOD, which is due to run until March 5 at the India Expo Center and Mart in Greater Noida.

A closer look at the numbers for 2022 reveal that total hardwood lumber shipped from the United States to India increased by 13 percent in value to USD 6.902 million (up from USD 6.120 million in 2021) but decreased marginally by 4 percent in volume to 9,724 cubic meters (down from 10,133 cubic meters in 2021). At the same time, direct exports of American hardwood veneers to the market reached USD 1.716 million. Committed to supplying India, which has demonstrated a growing appetite for U.S. hardwoods in recent years, AHEC is participating at DELHIWOOD with an American hardwood pavilion, which includes 12 U.S.-based hardwood lumber exporters.

The top six American hardwood species exported to India last year were hickory (USD 2.352 million and 2,581m3), white oak (USD 2.216 million and 3,173m3), red oak (USD 1.414 million and 2,334m3), ash (USD 325,000 and 514m3), walnut (USD 207,000 and 214m3) and maple (USD 194,000 and 428m3). Significant increases were seen in the value and volume of exports of red oak (129 percent and 127 percent), maple (106 percent and 386 percent), white oak (48 percent and 43 percent), and walnut (41 percent and 55 percent).

Prior to the show, AHEC hosted a ‘mini-convention’ and trade servicing mission to Jodhpur, Rajasthan from February 26 - 28, 2023. A total of 12 U.S. hardwood exporting companies in addition to the Chief Inspector from the National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA), AHEC technical consultants and representatives from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) were in Jodhpur in order to conduct a series of factory visits in conjunction with the Jodhpur Handicrafts Exporters Association (JHEA). Testament to the increased interest and demand for American hardwoods, over 200 furniture manufacturers and exporters attended the mini-convention.

According to the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH), India exported USD 1.1 billion worth of wooden handicrafts in FY22 (1st April 2021 to 31st March 2022), increasing from around USD 800 million in the previous year. 50 percent of the total exported in FY22 was destined for the United States, while other significant markets were Germany, the Netherlands, UK, France, Canada and Australia. The overwhelming majority of these were made from mango, sheesham and acacia, which are all Indian hardwood species. However, a small, but growing, proportion were made from imported temperate hardwoods, such as oak from both Europe and North America.

“Exports of U.S. hardwood lumber to India jumped significantly last year to reach an all-time high, and beating the record set in 2021, indicating far more than just a post-COVID recovery. Increasing certification requirements, and both the restricted and deteriorating quality of supply of domestic species is driving Indian furniture manufacturers to look at viable alternative hardwood species not only for the domestic furniture and interiors market, but also for re-exports of value-added products. Our presence here at DELHIWOOD aims to reinforce our commitment to the Indian market at a time when demand for American hardwoods is at an unprecedented high, a situation we expect to remain for years to come,” concluded Roderick Wiles, AHEC Regional Director.