Plywood Imports, 7 Reasons

plywood imports

7 Reasons Why Plywood Imports Are Booming in 2021

Plywood is one of the most versatile and widely used wood products in the world. It is made of thin layers of wood veneer glued together at right angles to form a strong and stable panel. Plywood has many applications in construction, furniture, cabinetry, flooring, packaging, and more.

But did you know that plywood imports are booming in 2021? According to the Observatory of Economic Complexity, the United States imported $4.2 billion worth of plywood in 2020, making it the largest importer of plywood in the world. And the trend is expected to continue in 2021, as the demand for plywood remains high due to various factors.

So what are the reasons why plywood imports are booming in 2021? Here are seven of them:

1. The COVID-19 pandemic has boosted the demand for plywood

The pandemic has caused a surge in home improvement and DIY projects, as people spend more time at home and look for ways to upgrade their living spaces. Plywood is a popular choice for these projects, as it is easy to work with, affordable, and versatile. Plywood is also used for making temporary structures, such as hospital beds, partitions, and shelters, to cope with the health crisis.

2. The shortage of domestic lumber has increased the need for plywood imports

The United States is facing a severe lumber shortage, as the supply chain has been disrupted by wildfires, hurricanes, tariffs, labor issues, and transportation bottlenecks. The shortage has driven up the prices of lumber to record levels, making it more expensive and difficult to source domestically. As a result, many builders and contractors have turned to plywood imports as an alternative, as they are cheaper and more readily available.

3. The environmental benefits of plywood have attracted more consumers

Plywood is considered an eco-friendly wood product, as it uses less wood than solid wood and reduces waste. Plywood also has a lower carbon footprint than other wood products, as it requires less energy to produce and transport. Moreover, many plywood importers source their products from certified suppliers that follow sustainable forest management practices and comply with environmental regulations. For example, Wolstenholme International is one of North America’s largest importers of FSC® certified hardwood plywood, providing solutions for various applications that require environmental certification.

4. The quality and variety of plywood imports have improved over time

Plywood imports have become more diverse and sophisticated over time, as different countries have developed their own specialties and innovations. For example, Indonesia is known for its tropical hardwood plywood, Brazil for its eucalyptus plywood, Vietnam for its bamboo plywood, and China for its film-faced plywood. These products offer different characteristics and advantages that suit different needs and preferences. Plywood imports also have improved quality and consistency, as they undergo rigorous testing and inspection before shipment.

5. The technological advancements in plywood production have enhanced its performance and appearance

Plywood production has become more advanced and efficient over time, as new technologies and techniques have been introduced. For example, ultralight MDF is a medium-density fiberboard that weighs about 30% less than standard MDF, making it easier to handle and transport. It is manufactured in Chile from 100% radiata pine, and features an even-density profile and a smooth surface. Another example is Hevea FramePly, a high-quality hardwood plywood panel best suited for furniture framing. It has multi-ply veneer layers with a solid core line that provide excellent frame quality and structural integrity.

6. The design trends and preferences have favored plywood aesthetics

Plywood has become more popular among designers and consumers who appreciate its natural beauty and simplicity. Plywood has a unique grain pattern and texture that add warmth and character to any space. Plywood also offers a modern and minimalist look that matches well with contemporary styles and themes. Moreover, plywood can be easily customized with different finishes, colors, shapes, and patterns to create stunning effects.

7. The trade policies and agreements have facilitated plywood imports

Plywood imports have been influenced by various trade policies and agreements that affect the tariffs, quotas, regulations, and standards of wood products. For example, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 2020, creating a more balanced and reciprocal trade relationship among the three countries. The USMCA also includes provisions that promote environmental protection and conservation of forest resources.

These are some of the reasons why plywood imports are booming in 2021. Plywood is a remarkable wood product that offers many benefits and advantages for various applications and industries. If you are looking for high-quality plywood imports for your next project or business venture, contact us today at Timber Products Global. We have a wide range of imported plywood products that meet your specifications and expectations.

Plywood Imports: A Global Overview

Plywood is a versatile and widely used wood product that consists of thin layers of wood veneer glued together. Plywood is used for various purposes such as furniture, construction, packaging, flooring and more. Plywood is also a major commodity in international trade, ranking as the world’s 205th most traded product in 2021.

In this blog post, we will look at some statistics and trends of plywood imports around the world, focusing on the top importers and exporters, the changes in import value and volume, and the sources of supply and demand.

Top Plywood Importers in 2021

According to the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC), the top plywood importers in 2021 were:

  • United States ($4.55B)
  • Japan ($1.66B)
  • Germany ($1.28B)
  • South Korea ($964M)
  • United Kingdom ($880M)

The table below shows the top 10 plywood importers in 2021, along with their share of global imports, their import value and volume, and their average import price.

CountryShare of Global ImportsImport Value (USD)Import Volume (m3)Average Import Price (USD/m3)
United States24.6%$4.55B8.4M$542
South Korea5.2%$964M2M$482
United Kingdom4.8%$880M1.5M$587

Source: OEC

Changes in Plywood Import Value and Volume

The global plywood import value increased by 23.6% from $14.7B in 2020 to $18.5B in 2021, according to OEC data. The global plywood import volume also increased by 13.8% from 27.8M cubic meters in 2020 to 31.6M cubic meters in 2021.

As the chart shows, the United States had the largest increase in both import value and volume in 2021, followed by Japan and Germany. The United States imported 8.4M cubic meters of plywood worth $4.55B in 2021, which was a 30% increase in value and a 21% increase in volume compared to 2020.

Japan imported 3.2M cubic meters of plywood worth $1.66B in 2021, which was a 24% increase in value and a 16% increase in volume compared to 2020.

Germany imported 2M cubic meters of plywood worth $1.28B in 2021, which was a
22% increase in value and a 15% increase in volume compared to 2020.

South Korea and the United Kingdom had smaller increases in both import value and volume in 2021, compared to the other top importers.

Sources of Plywood Supply and Demand

The main sources of plywood supply for the global market are China, Indonesia, Russia, Vietnam and Brazil, which together accounted for almost two-thirds of global plywood exports in 2021.

The table below shows the top 10 plywood exporters in 2021, along with their share of global exports, their export value and volume, and their average export price.

CountryShare of Global ExportsExport Value (USD)Export Volume (m3)Average Export Price (USD/m3)

Source: OEC

The main destinations of plywood demand for the global market are the United States, Japan, Germany, South Korea and the United Kingdom, which together accounted for more than half of global plywood imports in 2021.

The table below shows the top 10 plywood importers in 2021, along with their main sources of supply, based on the share of import value from each exporter.

ImporterMain Sources of Supply
United StatesVietnam (9.3%), China (8%), Indonesia (7.7%), Canada (6.9%), Brazil (6%)
JapanIndonesia (36%), Malaysia (19%), China (14%), Vietnam (10%), Chile (5%)
GermanyRussia (28%), Finland (16%), China (15%), Brazil (12%), Indonesia (5%)
South KoreaIndonesia (28%), Vietnam (24%), China (17%), Malaysia (13%), Russia (5%)
United KingdomChina (26%), Brazil (18%), Chile (15%), Indonesia (11%), Russia (8%)
FranceBrazil (25%), Russia (18%), China (14%), Indonesia (12%), Finland (8%)
IndiaVietnam (40%), Myanmar (17%), China (16%), Indonesia (11%), Malaysia (7%)
ItalyIndonesia (25%), China (23%), Brazil (15%), Russia (12%), Finland (6%)
CanadaUnited States (38%), China (18%), Brazil (15%), Chile (11%), Indonesia (5%)
(29%), China
(21%), Brazil
(16%), Finland
(12%), Indonesia

Source: OEC

Plywood is a widely used and traded wood product that has seen a significant increase in global demand and supply in 2021, especially from the United States, Japan and Germany.

The main suppliers of plywood to the global market are China, Indonesia, Russia, Vietnam and Brazil, while the main buyers are the United States, Japan, Germany, South Korea and the United Kingdom.

The average price of plywood varies by country of origin and destination, but generally ranges from around $400 to $700 per cubic meter.

Plywood is expected to remain a key commodity in the wood industry and international trade, as it offers various advantages such as strength, durability, versatility and sustainability.


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