US hardwoods hike share in India market

A dozen US-based hardwood lumber exporters are committed to supplying India, as was evidenced in DelhiWood 2023.

US wood exports to India reached an all-time high in 2022 with the value of hardwood lumber and veneer exports totalling US$ 8.618 million, according to the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC).

The statistics, which have been compiled from the latest data released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), were announced at the opening of DelhiWood, at the India Expo Centre and Mart in Greater Noida.

A closer look at the numbers for 2022 reveals that total hardwood lumber shipped from the US to India increased by 13% in value to US$ 6.902 million (up from US$ 6.120 million in 2021), but decreased marginally by 4% in volume to 9,724 cubic metres (down from 10,133 cubic metres in 2021).

At the same time, direct exports of American hardwood veneers to the market reached US$ 1.716 million. Committed to supplying India, which has demonstrated a growing appetite for US hardwoods in recent years, AHEC participated in DelhiWood 2023 with an American hardwood pavilion, which included 12 US-based hardwood lumber exporters.

The top six American hardwood species exported to India last year were hickory (US$ 2.352 million; 2,581 cubic metres), white oak (US$ 2.216 million; 3,173 cubic metres), red oak (US$ 1.414 million; 2,334 cubic metres), ash (US$ 325,000; 514 cubic metres), walnut (US$ 207,000; 214 cubic metres) and maple (US$ 194,000; 428 cubic metres).

Significant increases were seen in the value and volume of exports of red oak (129% and 127%), maple (106% and 386%), white oak (48% and 43%), and walnut (41% and 55%).

“The Indian domestic market is growing and will continue to grow. People are willing to spend money on good quality solid wood furniture, doors and windows, and interiors. That’s a really good long-term opportunity for American hardwoods,” said Roderick Wiles, AHEC Regional Director.

Jodhpur mission

Before the show, AHEC, the leading international trade association for the American hardwood industry, hosted a ‘mini-convention’ and trade servicing mission to Jodhpur (Rajasthan) in late February, 2023.

A total of 12 US hardwood exporting companies, the Chief Inspector from the National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA), AHEC technical consultants and representatives from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service were in Jodhpur 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 US$ 1.1 billion worth of wooden handicrafts in FY 2022, increasing from around US$ 800 million the previous year.

Half of the exports were destined for the US, while other significant markets for India were Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, France, Canada and Australia.

The overwhelming majority of these were made from mango, sheesham and acacia, all Indian hardwood species. However, a small, but growing, proportion was made from imported temperate hardwoods, such as oak from both Europe and North America.


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