Latin American Reverse Trade Mission Visits 2 SFPA Members
The Southern Forest Products Association, in conjunction with American Softwoods, was proud to welcome 11 participants from five countries for a Latin American Reverse Trade Mission from July 24-30, 2023.
The purpose of the reverse trade mission was to educate importers, distributors, and architects from Peru, Colombia, the Bahamas, Costa Rica, and Mexico about U.S. structural wood panels, engineered wood products, and Southern Yellow Pine so they can apply what they learned on a local scale in their home countries.
Participants toured three APA-member mills, one SFPA-member sawmill, visited residential and nonresidential construction sites, explored finished projects, saw a logging operation, and toured a metal connectors facility. Each experience gave participants an understanding of wood construction from the seedling to finished buildings so they can better specify U.S. panels for construction, more easily identify and import the proper U.S. wood products, and build relationships with U.S. producers.
The mission began in Dallas with single- and multi-family construction site visits to see how different structural panels, engineered wood products, lumber, and connectors come together to build a structure. Participants visited the Simpson Strong-Tie production facility to learn more about the various connectors used in wood frame construction and what to consider when designing a wood frame building.
From Texas, the group traveled to Alexandria, LA, to tour a Boise Cascade plywood plant, a RoyOMartin OSB and plywood plant, an active logging operation, and a Southern Yellow Pine sawmill at West Fraser’s Joyce, LA, mill, an SFPA lumber manufacturing member. Participants also attended a dinner with Buck Vandersteen and David Grassi from the Louisiana Forestry Association, where they learned about sustainable forest management.
Reverse trade missions give participants the unique opportunity to learn about U.S. structural panels, softwood lumber, and connectors from the mill to finished buildings. These trips also are a change to learn how products are made, understand the consistent quality, grading, and specification requirements for U.S. wood products, and see how the products are integrated in residential, non-residential, and commercial construction.
This type of collaboration is valuable, as Latin American countries often face similar challenges with respect to wood use and construction practices. It’s likely a successful approach in one Latin country will lead to success in another, thereby impacting the perception of wood and eventually increasing the use of U.S. wood products.
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