Over the past several months, I have spoken with many of you in the Hardwood industry and have found that there is an overwhelming understanding of–and appreciation for–the increasing importance of exports to the short and long-term profitability of our industry. And, while I have found general support for AHEC’s overall mission to “grow the pie” for U.S. exporters through generic educational and promotional activities, I have also learned that there is a perception among the industry that generic promotion is the only thing that AHEC does, and there are no real direct benefits to members who pay dues as opposed to the industry at large who all benefit from generic promotion.
As with any trade association, the benefits you receive from AHEC membership tend to be directly proportional to your involvement with the organization. Those members who participate in events overseas and remain in contact with the AHEC overseas staff on a regular basis will certainly get more out of their investment than an inactive member. Nevertheless, the direct benefits even for less active members are substantial, and are outlined below:
•American Hardwood Environmental Profile (AHEP): Simply put, AHEPs are a consignment-specific shipping document which will provide access to information on the risk of illegality as well as sustainability of the U.S. Hardwood species contained in that consignment, together with quantitative data on the environmental impacts associated with delivering each specific consignment to an individual customer anywhere in the world. In the short term, this document is designed to satisfy “due diligence” requirements arising from illegal logging legislation such as the Lacey Act in the U.S., the EU Timber Regulation, and Japanese “Green Procurement” laws. This document is free and exclusive to AHEC members, and can be filled out on our new website platform: ahec.org.
•Participation in AHEC Trade Show Pavilions: AHEC offers several opportunities per year for members to exhibit in AHEC-funded trade show pavilions at a greatly reduced cost. AHEC takes charge of the stand build, space rental, signage and even the furniture and electrical service. For 2023 AHEC will host (or has hosted) pavilions at Dubai Wood Show, Interzum Guangzhou and FMC Shanghai in China, Vietnam Wood in Ho Chi Minh City, Delhi Wood and Mumbai Wood in India, and TechnoMueble in Guadalajara, Mexico.
•Conventions: AHEC holds regional conventions in Greater China/Southeast Asia, Europe, and Mexico. These events provide unique opportunities to network with a large number of potential overseas buyers and learn about the latest market developments. In 2023 we will host our first Greater China Convention since the COVID pandemic in Chengdu, an American Hardwood trade symposium with the UK and European Timber Trade Federations and are planning to co-host a Mexico Convention in partnership with IMEXFOR in the fall. Participation in these events are free of charge for AHEC members.
•Trade Leads: AHEC distributes trade leads to all AHEC members. These trade leads are received through AHEC overseas offices from potential buyers at trade shows, conventions, networking, and trade missions.
•AHEC U.S. Hardwood Exporter Brochure: This publication lists all AHEC members, including complete contact information as well as information on species and product lines. Approximately 20,000 brochures are distributed annually in response to inquiries received by the AHEC overseas offices, and at trade shows, seminars, and other AHEC activities abroad.
•Market Intelligence/Statistical Reports: Every month, AHEC members receive market reports from AHEC overseas directors. Reports are based on the directors’ 100+ trade servicing visits with timber traders, manufacturers, architects and designers around the world, and provide cutting edge information on current market conditions and future opportunities, feedback from importers and end-users, and updates on the latest regional Hardwood events. AHEC also provides to U.S. Hardwood export statistics which are available by country and species, as well as access to import data from several of our major trading partners, which will allow your sales staff to not only track U.S. exports, but also keep track on what our competitors are exporting to major markets and what the U.S. is importing.
•Online AHEC membership database: Complete contact and product line information for all AHEC members are catalogued in an online database, through which potential buyers can search for suppliers by region, species or product. The database is accessible via AHEC overseas websites that target foreign buyers and specifers.
•Seminars: AHEC sponsors more than 30 seminars in 10-15 different countries per year. Offering another significant networking opportunity to all AHEC members, the seminars are designed to give overseas importers, specifiers and end users an increased understanding of the U.S. Hardwood resource, as well as technical information on grading, characteristics and applications of the major U.S. Hardwood species. Several of the more active AHEC members schedule their overseas sales trips to correspond with one or more of these events.
•AHEC Publications: AHEC publishes a wide variety of publications in multiple languages that are available free of charge to AHEC members and have proven invaluable to sales staff. These publications include US Hardwood Species, Illustrated Guide to US Hardwood Lumber Grades, and US Hardwood Products as well as a range of publications that target architects, designers and specifiers.
•High-res Photo Database: AHEC maintains high-resolution photo libraries of U.S. Hardwoods applications from around the world. Members are free to use these photographs in their own press and promotional materials such as websites and sales brochures.
•Trade Shows: Every year, AHEC exhibits at more than 20 regional and national trade shows around the world, from events in the Middle East, India, Brazil and Vietnam to more established shows throughout Europe, Korea, Japan, China, and Mexico. AHEC members are always welcome to use the AHEC stand as a base of operations for attending these shows, and AHEC overseas staff can assist members with registration information and accommodations.
•U.S. Hardwood Public Relations Campaign: Reaching more than 28 million people in 24 countries, AHEC’s worldwide public relations campaigns target overseas specifiers, consumers, and importers, promoting U.S. Hardwoods and Hardwood products. In a given year, more than 750 AHEC advertisements, press releases and feature articles highlighting the quality, variety and sustainability of the U.S. Hardwood resource are published in newspapers, magazines and trade journals worldwide. Several times per year, AHEC publishes membership lists in major overseas publications that target buyers and end users of Hardwood.
AHEC maintains offices in Japan, Europe, Dubai, China, and Mexico, in addition to our Sterling, Virginia headquarters. If you would like additional information on our overseas promotional programs for U.S. Hardwoods, please contact Tripp Pryor at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 703/435-2900. Detailed information can also be found on our websites at www.ahec.org and www.americanhardwood.org.