Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on June 28, 1993 · Page 5
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 5

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Ukiah, California
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Monday, June 28, 1993
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Page 5
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-THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL- MONDAY, JUNE 28, 1993 — 5 USDA, timber firms not meeting Japan's lumber needs PAGER SPECIAL »By SCOTT SONNER Th« Associated Press WASHINGTON — Many U.S. timber companies are missing out on opportunities to sell wood to Japan because they fail to tailor their lumber to Japanese preferences, a government report said. The audit of two export programs at the U.S. Agriculture Department warns that Canada ultimately could become the biggest beneficiary of U.S. efforts to knock down Japan's wood-trade barriers if American mills continue to neglect Japan's precise demands. "According to Japanese customers we spoke with, many U.S. companies do not appear to be interested in understanding the needs of their Japanese customers and-or tailoring their products to meet those needs," the General Accounting Office said last week. "Instead, U.S. companies try to sell the same products and services that are demanded by the U.S. market," the audit said. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., asked the GAO to conduct the review of the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service's Market Promotion Program and Foreign Market Development Program. The audit concludes that improved access to Japan's market and general increases in wood demand "will not guarantee the competitive success of exports of U.S. solid wood products in Japan." Japanese housing construction is outpacing that of the United States and represents one of the greatest potential markets for U.S. timber companies. The problem is that U.S. homes typically are built with frames made of 2x4-inch lumber covered by wallboard. About 80 percent of the homes in Japan in 1991 were built with 4x4-inch posts and boards, using custom carpentry on wooden framing often left exposed as decoration. "Japanese customers are concerned about product appearance and after-sales service, areas that many U.S. wood products companies need to emphasize if they are to compete in the Japanese market," the GAO said. "If they do not, competitors could seize the opportunity and act on the importance of Japanese customers' concerns. In that case, the industry-FAS effort to open the Japanese market will have served to help competitors more than the U.S. industry. ... "According to most of the Japanese customers we spoke with, Canadian companies are better than their U.S. counterparts at meeting Japanese customers' needs." The USDA and industry leaders cited lower prices for Canadian timber as the primary reason for inability of U.S. companies to compete with Canadian companies. In 1992, about 40 percent of all U.S. wood exports — valued at $2.7 billion — went to Japan. The U.S. supplies more than half of the softwood logs and about 30 percent of softwood lumber imported into Japan. Japan imports about 75 percent of the solid wood needed to satisfy domestic demand and most of it is used in housing construction. But until 1980, because of fears about earthquakes and fires, Japanese building codes prohibited construction of multistory wooden buildings. Regulations were revised in 1987 to allow for multi-story, single-family homes. And by April 1994, multi-family, multistory wood construction will be allowed in designated zones. The federal government has spent $17 million from 1982-93 on the two USDA programs to promote wood products in Japan. But the GAO said the current approach by the U.S. industry and the government has "largely forgone opportunities to further penetrate one of Japan's major solid wood markets — post and beam construction. "U.S. companies often don't understand that the Japanese customer's definition of 'quality' is often a preference for attractive finishing and a clear, knot-free appearance. Instead, U.S. companies stress the structural properties of their products, believing that the products should sell on the merits of their performance, as they do in the United States," the GAO said The report said Japanese customers are willing to pay more for preferred wood. "As one customer told us, price is an issue only if the quality of competing products is comparable." Limited Supply -900 MHZ • STATEWIDE COVERAGE • LOWAIRTIME RATES CALL TODAY 463-173O EXECUTIVE RAGE M10 SKYLANE BLVD. SANTA HOSA. CA 95403 •WITH PURCHASE OF AIRTIki Woman stops sister's assault from clear across the country BROOKSHTRE, Texas (AP) — A 33-year-old merchant was attacked at her store but saved by her sister from 1,600 miles away. The two women were talking on the phone when assailants entered the Brookshire store Thursday evening to rob and rape her, authorities said. The two men had walked into the store during the conversation and allegedly brandished a .380-caliber handgun and a shank, similar to an ice pick. Over the phone, the businesswoman's sister who lives in Albany, Calif., heard a shot, her sister's screams and shouts from the pair demanding money. After a few minutes the line went dead. The California relative called friends and within minutes the emergency telephones at the Brookshire police station were busy with calls from California. Brookshire Police Chief Joe Garcia said officers burst into the locked shop and captured two men. The merchant was found on the floor bound by ropes and a telephone cord. "She put up quite a struggle," Garcia said. "They apparently underestimated her tremendous will to survive." Brookshire is about 30 miles west of Houston. Officials warning about fireworks set fire All the local news weather & sports in the Journal SAN DIEGO (AP) — Officials warning trie public about July 4th brush fires proved their point with a vengeance by accidentally starting a 10-acre fire during a demonstration. Sheriff's deputies and firefighters gathered at a remote bomb- disposal range Friday to blow up thousands of illegal fireworks in front of the media and talk about their dangers. The brush fire began after one of the commercial fireworks thought to be a dud burst high into the air, spreading sparks. About 50 firefighters, two water- dropping helicopters and abulldoz- er were needed to extinguish thei fire. "It's never happened like that before," San Miguel Fire Chief Dan Reed. A wet winter that caused heavy brush growth and a hot summer could lead to large wildfires across Southern California, officials said. In addition, many cities have canceled fireworks shows this year because of budget problems, which could mean more people will buy illegal fireworks. THIS OUSiroESS IS COMSUMER PREFERRED r/990 Customsr Sstlshctlon Leafa" 462 <B 881T 2600 North State Street TRIFLE 'S' TIRE&BRME THE PRICE BARRIBt HAS BEEN EAT YOUR HEART OUT COSTCO AND PRICE CLUB BECAUSE TRIPLE 'S' HAS ^BROKEN THE PRICE BAftRIERONONE OF . 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Oil &HLITR 1.5qts. 10W400M 2. New fitter 3. Chassis lube „ 4. Rotate tires N*««'M«I»Q^- 5 'i;££r$r n Give us a piece of your mind. We might even print it in the newspaper. Beginning in July, the Ukiah Daily Journal will feature a new column - Sound Off. All you have to do is pickup the phone and call us, leave a message of any length on any topic, and we may publish it on our weekly Sound Off column. You do not have to give your name or address — all we ask is that you keep your comments in good taste and to the point. So if there's something that's been on your mind lately, give us a call and share it with the readers of the Ukiah Daily Journal. Sound Off by calling now! 468-3540 24 hour a day - 7 days a week Watch for this new feature column Beginning hi July in the WUkiahDaify 'ournal rhHSinwvniiif>*t »wi»»***"«•»•»*»•" •—— TRIPLE'S'TIRE A KM. Rood • Ukiah SENIORS-1 tM OFF AU SERVICES

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