The IMM EU FLEGT VPA Trade Consultation at the London Building centre underlined the range of timber sector stakeholders interested in learning more about the VPA initiative – and where it’s headed in the future.
The IMM is undertaking a scoping study to assess trade and market impacts of FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) in the furniture sectors of EU and VPA supplier countries.
IMM has released a major new report on “FLEGT VPA Partners in EU Timber Trade 2014 to 2016” which updates key forest resource and trade data contained in the 2015 IMM report on “Europe's changing tropical timber trade”. The two reports together assess the baseline conditions for entry into the EU market of FLEGT licensed timber.
"Europe’s changing tropical timber trade", a report by IMM published as part of the ITTO Technical Series in 2015, establishes the baseline for long term monitoring of market impacts of FLEGT licensing, describing the evolution of the market for timber from VPA partner countries in the EU between 2004 and 2013. The report quantifies VPA countries’ shares in relevant sections of the EU timber market including logs, sawnwood, decking, mouldings, veneer, plywood, joinery products, furniture, pulp and paper. It identifies and weights the wide range of factors impacting on the availability of tropical timber from VPA countries and the demand for these products in the EU. It establishes the position of the FLEGT licensing process within the wider context of social, economic and environmental developments influencing the international tropical timber trade.
EU gets back to building
European construction is a key market for many European timber businesses so, as it was among the sectors hit hardest and longest by the international economic downturn, they suffered accordingly. Some companies reported seeing their sales to builders drop by 80% during the downturn which began a decade ago. In Spain, where the building industry suffered in the recession more than most, it shed 1.5 million out of 2.5 million workers. Elsewhere there was also dramatic slowdown and loss of capacity. But today, according to the European Construction Industry Federation (FIEC), the sector is slowly but surely getting back to growth.
Eurozone builds economic resilience…but Brexit causes UK caution
The EU timber sector is being buoyed by broadly resurgent economic conditions, with the UK the only major standout from an increasingly positive trading consensus due to growing concerns about the effect on business and consumer sentiment of Brexit negotiations.
Alongside regular surveys of market opinion to assess the market impact of FLEGT licensing, IMM is implementing near-real time monitoring of trade flow statistics. Early results of this monitoring indicate that there has been little immediate effect of the licensing system to either boost or impair timber trade between Indonesia and the EU. In fact, the value and volume of Indonesian trade with the EU has changed very little since the first licenses were issued in November 2016, while Indonesia’s share of the EU market has also remained stable.