Côte d'Ivoire's Minister of Forests meets ATIBT in Antwerp


The visit followed the signing of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade in Timber and Timber Products (VPA-FLEGT).


On Monday February 19, 2024, Côte d'Ivoire's Minister of Water and Forests, His Excellency Laurent TCHAGBA, the Ambassador representing the Presidency of the Council of the EU, Mr. Willem van de VOORDE, and the European Commissioner for International Partnerships, Ms. Jutta URPILAINEN, signed the Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade in Timber and Timber Products (VPA-FLEGT). This ceremony follows the conclusion of negotiations in June 2022, and the initialling of the agreement by the Ivorian and European parties on October 19, 2022 in Abidjan.

The following day, Tuesday February 20, 2024 , we visited the port of Antwerp. The aim was to gain a better understanding of the procedures that apply to timber imports, before taking a tour of the terminal and a visit to the port authority.



The ATIBT, represented by its President Françoise Van de Ven and General Manager Benoit Jobbé-Duval, was invited to take part in the event, which was partly devoted to discussions on the development of the Côte d'Ivoire wood processing industry.


After presenting the ATIBT's activities to the Minister and his team, the occasion was used to discuss the current needs of the Ivorian industry, which includes various ATIBT members. The following points were presented to the Minister:

The request to modify article 7 of Decree n°2021 - 587 of October 06, 2021 to allow the export of non-dried wood́ for wood products manufactured in Azobé, Badi and Tali. Various arguments were provided to enable the regulations to evolve favorably on this important point.

Secondly, MINEF was asked to provide support and assistance to timber industry players in negotiations with the Ministry of Industry. A reduction in the industrial royalty rate applied to land under concession is essential, as wood processing requires large areas of land for a level of profitability that is not comparable with many other sectors. Let's not forget that the timber industry requires a large workforce, which implies a very high level of income redistribution.

With regard to the timber resources needed by the industry, a permanent platform was set up, comprising representatives of the MINEF and timber industry representatives, to facilitate discussions and exchanges on more pressing issues, such as (1) discussions on amending certain articles of the agreements governing the management of Classified Forests, (2) regulations and the control and traceability system for sales of timber products on the national market, and finally (3) management and optimization of the transition phase for logging in rural forests (PEF, Périmètre d'Exploitation Forestière).

Finally, a discussion took place on facilitating the import of logs and semi-finished wood products to guarantee the supply of domestic wood processing plants.

A visit by the Minister to the next ATIBT Forum, in October 2024, has been envisaged.



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