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The next IMM Trade Consultation takes place in Barcelona on October 7. It will give participants from Spain and across the EU the opportunity to hear and discuss the latest on the FLEGT VPA initiative and tropical timber trade flows, notably from VPA partner countries.  Given the interest of the Spanish timber sector, there will be a particular focus on VPA developments in Africa. The event is supported by the Spanish Timber Trade Federation (AEIM) and the EFI FLEGT Facility and will be held at the latter’s headquarters on the historic Sant Pau Art Nouveau site. 

Charts 1 to 6 below provide a statistical summary of EU tropical timber imports between January 2015 and May 2019 according to the status of FLEGT VPAs between tropical partner countries and the EU at the end of that period.  

The EU imported 423,000 metric tonnes (MT) of wood products from Indonesia in the year ending May 2019, a 1% reduction compared to 428,000 MT in the year ending May 2018. However, in value terms EU imports from Indonesia increased 9% from €782 million to €855 million in the same period. As the Euro weakened against the US currency during this period, the increase in dollar value was less significant, up 5% from US$932 million to US$976 million.  

After a dip in 2017 and the early months of 2018, EU imports of tropical wood products recovered ground in the second half of 2018 and gained momentum in the first five months of 2019. EU imports from Indonesia have increased in value terms but remain stubbornly flat in tonnage terms. There was significant recovery in EU imports of sawnwood from Cameroon in the year to May 2019. Most other gains during this period were in imports from countries not engaged in the VPA process, including Brazil, China, India, Panama, and Cuba.

FAO is launching a public online consultation to gather opinions from a broad range of stakeholders on the development of a set of Guiding Legal Elements (GLEs) for forest management, and timber production and trade. These Elements will form the framework for an online FAO database (Timber-Lex) that will catalogue forest-related legislation for timber trading countries.

The IMM interviews Managing Director David Hopkins on the UK Timber Trade Federation's communication and promotion of FLEGT.

As a part of the IMM implementation process, ITTO is seeking IMM Correspondents in Vietnam and Congo Republic. The correspondents will be part of IMM's team of independent country correspondents currently active in Ghana, Indonesia as well as Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and the UK.

A new study of EU Member State public procurement policies and their recognition of FLEGT Licences found that  twenty-two EU member states now possess some form of public procurement policy for products containing or made from wood. They vary significantly in terms of their definition of criteria, coverage of products, applicability to different levels of government and whether they are voluntary or mandatory. However, they all require, or at least encourage, government buyers to source legal and often sustainable, timber.  

The UK Timber Trade Federation is hosting a special conference for the hardwood sector, ‘African Hardwood: Reducing risk, improving supply’. (Photo: Klas Sander, courtesy Danzer)

Indonesia and the UK have agreed a raft of areas for bilateral economic, environmental and development cooperation. They include a continued commitment to support and develop Indonesia’s engagement in the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade initiative if and when the UK leaves the EU.(Photo left: Andrew Tilbury of Falcon Panel Products and Indonesian Ambassador Dr Rizal Sukma at the reception of the first FLEGT-licensed wood products in the UK in 2016)

Viet Nam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) is calling for input into a new draft decree supporting implementation of its FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement. The decree will include criteria and processes for classification of timber exporters and timber products, and establishing the framework for verifying the source of imported timber. 

The Republic of the Congo is ‘not far from the end of the tunnel’ on its FLEGT VPA, according to EU Ambassador to the country Raul Mateus Paula. He was talking after the latest meeting of the EU-Congo VPA Joint Implementation Committee (JIC) in Brazzaville on 5-6 June, which was also attended by Congo Forest Economy Minister Rosalie Matondo. (Photo left: Members of the EU-Republic of the Congo JIC. EFI FLEGT Facility)