Sen. Scott Works to Protect South Carolinian Jobs, U.S. Free Market

WASHINGTON — In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai, U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) expressed his concerns with a regulation that could negatively impact U.S. paper and pulp producers. The regulation, called the European Union’s Deforestation-Free Regulation (EUDR), would impose costly reporting requirements for American companies in the forest products industry that export to the European Union and serve as a barrier to international business.

U.S. industry affected by the EUDR directly employs more than 920,000 Americans and indirectly supports more than 2 million jobs. In 2022, South Carolina ranked 13th among all states in forestry exports, sending more than $1 billion worth of products to 129 different countries. South Carolina’s pulp and paper industries are the largest contributors to forestry exports, with $920 million combined.

“While we applaud the EU’s commitment towards reducing deforestation, the EUDR, as currently written, presents significant compliance issues due to its stringency and ambiguity. One specific concern is the traceability requirement. The EUDR imposes a geolocation traceability requirement that mandates sourcing to the individual plot of land for every shipment of timber product to the EU. In the U.S., 42 percent of the wood fiber used by pulp and paper mills comes from wood chips, forest residuals, and sawmill manufacturing residues – wood sources that cannot be traced back to an individual forest plot. The EUDR traceability requirement will be nearly impossible for a significant segment of the U.S. paper and pulp industry to comply with,” the senators wrote to USTR Representative Katherine Tai.

“As USTR continues to engage with European regulators, we urge the agency to seek clarity on the EUDR’s traceability requirements, data reporting, and country benchmarking. We ask that USTR encourage the EU to recognize that the United States has robust regulatory standards to protect the long-term health of U.S. forests. This will help American paper and pulp producers achieve compliance under these new standards and ensure that the United States and the European Union can maintain its mutually beneficial trade relationship in paper and pulp products,” the senators continued.

In addition to Senator Scott, Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Angus King (I-Maine), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Bill Cassidy M.D. (R-La.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and John Cornyn (R-Texas) signed the letter.

Full text of the letter can be found here.