ITTO has published its report on tropical timber markets for the period 16-31 March 2023.
The main issues include increasing the market share of tropical wood products in the total value of EU27 wood and wood furniture imports. This had fallen from 20% in 2020 to only 17% in 2021. The situation has changed, with the share rising to 21% in 2022, the highest increase in at least 15 years.
The report also includes information published by ATIBT on March 24, on the forestry and wood sector in the DRC and the very high production of wood by "informal" companies compared to companies that respect the legislation in place. The article mentions a CIFOR project that seeks to help informal operators register with the government and thus become part of the formal sector.
The ITTO report also discusses Indonesia's readiness to defy the new EU Zero Deforestation Regulation (EUDR). The Director General of Sustainable Forest Management of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK), Agus Justianto, is quoted as saying that Indonesia is ready to challenge the European Union (EU) at the World Trade Organization (WTO) over the enactment of this law, which he says will become a trade barrier for timber products. Media reports indicate that Indonesia considers this regulation to be a unilateral violation of the agreement on the export of wood products between Indonesia and the EU, signed in 2013. Indonesia already has a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on forest law enforcement, governance and trade (FLEGT). Also in Indonesia the Minister of Manpower, Ida Fauziyah, issued a regulation effective March 8, 2023, allowing wood furniture manufacturers to reduce wages by up to 25%.
Also in the headlines: India's intention to reduce imports of non-essential goods to encourage more domestic production. This would also help reduce the trade deficit, which reached us$247 billion between April 2022 and February 2023, compared to us$172 billion in the same period last fiscal year; in Vietnam, the recommendation of Le Hoang Tai, Deputy Director of the Trade Promotion Agency of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, to promote Vietnam's timber industry and its product development capacity to improve its competitiveness (organize world-class fairs and exhibitions in Vietnam, participate in international events in key countries, provide international intelligence, etc. ); the January 2023 decline in Brazilian furniture exports of -25% (US$45 million), caused, according to the Market Intelligence Institute (IEMI), by internal factors related to the economy, politics, the business environment of the industry and domestic trade; in Japan, growing demand for wood buildings in the context of the need for decarbonization (36 applications were filed in 2022 for wood buildings of four stories or more, compared to 2 applications 10 years ago); and finally, the report discusses U.S. housing starts increasing in February 2023 for the first time in six months, thanks to apartment buildings. It is unclear, however, whether this rebound will lead to a housing market recovery.