Record year for U.S. hardwood exports to India

Total value of American hardwood lumber and veneer exported reached USD 8.482 million in 2023

The total value of exports of U.S. hardwood lumber and veneers to India in 2023 was USD 8.482 million, according to the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), the leading international trade association for the American hardwood industry. The statistics, which have been compiled from the latest data released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), were announced following AHEC’s successful participation at INDIAWOOD, which ran from February 22 - 26, 2024 at the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC), in Bengaluru, India. A total of fourteen U.S. hardwood log, lumber and veneer exporters participated at the show under the banner of the American Hardwood Pavilion.

A closer look at the numbers for 2023 reveal that total hardwood lumber shipped from the United States to India increased by 3 percent in value to USD 7.024 million (up from USD 6.839 million in 2022) and by 21 percent in volume to 11,604 cubic meters (up from 9,614 cubic meters in 2022). At the same time, direct exports of American hardwood veneers to the market reached USD 1.458 million whilst exports of logs fell to USD 3.569 million (down by 47 percent) and 6,250 cubic meters (down by 36 percent). A record year of exports to India coupled with India’s growing appetite for temperate hardwoods in the face of decreasing local supply has bolstered U.S. hardwood exporters to become increasingly active in India.

The top six American hardwood species exported to India last year were white oak (USD 1.894 million and 2,880m3), red oak (USD 1.251 million and 2,160m3), hickory (USD 1.175 million and 1,428m3), ash (USD 1.09 million and 1,964m3), maple (USD 662,000 and 1,417m3) and walnut (USD 301,000 and 326m3). The biggest increases were seen in the value and volume of exports of ash (235 percent and 282 percent), maple (242 percent and 231 percent), and walnut (45 percent and 52 percent). Committed to supplying India, which has demonstrated a growing appetite for U.S. hardwoods in recent years, AHEC participated at INDIAWOOD with an American hardwood pavilion, which included 14 U.S.-based hardwood exporters.

AHEC also hosted a ‘mini-convention’ and trade servicing mission to Jaipur following the conclusion of INDIAWOOD. Several U.S. hardwood exporting companies in addition to AHEC staff and technical consultants traveled to Jaipur in Rajasthan in order to conduct a series of factory visits in conjunction with the Federation of Rajasthan Handicraft Exporters (FORHEX). Building on previous successful activities that have been jointly hosted by AHEC and FORHEX, the trade servicing mission aimed to facilitate real trade between manufacturers in Jaipur and AHEC members. Visits to some of the leading manufacturers also helped American hardwood exporters better understand their needs, whilst the seminar threw the spotlight on new opportunities for American hardwoods, particularly for products destined for export markets.

"India emerged as the biggest growth market for U.S. hardwood lumber in the first half of 2023 and this trend continued throughout the year. Our participation at INDIAWOOD reflects our commitment to cater to and expand further in this market at a time when demand for American hardwoods is at an unprecedented high. However, this growing interest must be supported by a better understanding of the physical properties and potential for applications offered by the different species of American hardwood. Our participation at the show as well as the seminar with FORHEX provided the perfect opportunity to share this knowledge and to build a stronger relationship with Indian architects, interior designers, furniture designers, and manufacturers," concluded Roderick Wiles, AHEC Regional Director.