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IMM undertakes furniture market scoping study

Apr 19, 2018 | Surveys & Project News

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.

Led by consultant George White, the study will provide a baseline and recommendations for long-term IMM monitoring of FLEGT VPA- and EU Timber Regulation (EUTR)-related trends in the wood furniture industry

“It’s needed because finished wood furniture consistently accounts for nearly 40% of the total value of EU imports of timber and timber products from VPA partner countries and they also supply EU furniture manufacture with a range of wood raw materials, including logs, sawnwood, mouldings, veneer and plywood,” said Mr White. “The distribution channels and factors affecting competitiveness in this industry are also distinct from those in the traditional wood importing sector and would benefit from specialist knowledge and analysis.”

He added that the furniture sector is particularly interesting for EUTR impact assessment as it is divided between products which are exempt the regulation legislation (seating) and those which are covered (all other types of wood furniture).

With research undertaken by IMM’s network of national correspondents, the study will primarily focus on seven market countries, which between them account for 83% of all EU wood furniture imports and 86% of imports from VPA partners. These are the UK, Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Spain .

Initially key companies involved in the furniture trade each of these EU states will be identified, including retailers, importers, wholesalers and agents. Using information and opinion from them, the study will then determine and describe current market conditions and distribution channels in each of the EU countries, both for finished wood furniture and for timber and wood products for furniture manufacture supplied by VPA partner countries.

The final report will also help:

  • better identify the types of wood furniture imported by the EU from VPA partner countries ;
  • assess factors determining the relative competitiveness of VPA partner countries in relevant EU furniture market segments;  
  • provide preliminary assessment of the current and potential role of FLEGT Licensing to improve EU market access for wood furniture from VPA countries.
  • The VPA partner countries engaged in wood furniture supply to the EU are primarily Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

The IMM correspondents network will be collating data for the study through March and April 2018 and the final report is due to be published late June.

EU-based furniture sector companies willing to be interviewed for the study can contact George White at