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Photo: Rnesto Benavides/AFP/Getty Images

Lumber mills in the U.S. have been a casualty of President Trump's trade war with China, as a significant dip in demand has pushed hardwood lumber prices down, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: Chinese buyers were critical for lumber after the 2008 financial crisis, as American construction and furniture production dropped. Now, Beijing's retaliatory tariffs on as much as 25% of lumber and wood imports are draining the U.S. industry.

By the numbers: The percentage of American hardwood exports to China dropped from a peak 54.19% in 2017 to 49.5% in 2018, according to the Department of Agriculture.

  • By this year, that number dropped to 41.34%.
  • As of August, lumber prices fell 20% from the previous year.
  • Other countries are reaping the benefits of the American market's downfall. Russia and Gabon now make up 17% of imports by value, up from 12% through July of 2018.

The Trump administration and Congress have met with industry leaders who are pushing for comparable assistance to what American farmers have received since the trade war began.

  • But the Department of Commerce indicated it has no procedure for distributing such aid, according to the WSJ.
  • “There is no question that these tariffs have virtually destroyed a segment of our industry,” said Steven Anthony, president of Anthony Timberlands.

What's next: The Journal said some companies are pushing U.S. buyers to purchase more hardwood products to make up for the losses.

  • Jim Hourdequin, CEO of Lyme Timber Co., presented an idea: A marketing push similar to the "Got Milk?" ads that the dairy industry famously produced in the 1990s.

Go deeper: The market wants a U.S.-China trade deal

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - World

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Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at FOX News' studios in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.