Over the past 50 years, the process of procuring office furnishings for use in the United States has become increasingly global. Office furniture San Diego businesses choose to purchase often comes from one of this country’s main importing partners in the furniture industry – China and Canada. It might surprise you to learn that sourcing office furniture from China has only recently become a prevalent practice. In the year 2000, only 13% of imported office furniture came from that country. Now, according to statistics from BIFMA, that number has spiked to around 40%. In the same time period, Canada has lost 22% of its share of the U.S. market.
Some people may point to this trend as an indication that U.S. businesses are opting for the cheapest products available regardless of the quality of the product. What’s interesting about the argument against buying non-domestic office furniture is that it cuts both ways. For example, here’s a snippet from a 2007 news article at AllAfrica.com in which the writer complains about the cheap U.S. furniture imports flooding the Kenyan marketplace. Would we want other countries to stop buying American-made products?
The ethical and practical questions surrounding the topic of international trade definitely fall outside the scope of this blog post. However, one easy way to ensure your purchasing decisions directly benefit U.S. workers is by choosing locally refurbished office furniture.