Changing Export Trends and the Health of the Pacific Northwest Forest Sector
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The Pacific Northwest (PNW) forest sector is strategically linked to Pacific Rim markets, as it has been at a competitive disadvantage with the US South and interior Canada in delivering wood products to the population dense eastern and southern US markets. Deep-water port access to Asia however, has provided the PNW with a comparative advantage in serving what was until recently, the region with the world's highest sustained growth. The Asian financial crisis, which began in 1997, substantially reduced US exports to Asia, and has compounded the negative impacts of the harvest restrictions intended to protect the habitat of endangered species, which began in 1990. Both the Asian financial crisis and the harvest constraints are forcing long-term structural changes. Understanding these changes is important to maintaining the economic and biological health of the forest sector.