COVID-19 Downturn in EU27 Tropical Imports May Be Less Severe Than First Forecast – ITTO European Market Report 31st August 2020

The downturn in EU imports of tropical wood and wood furniture products during the initial period of the COVID-19 pandemic may be less severe than first forecast. As expected, EU27 (i.e. excluding the UK) tropical wood and wood furniture product imports fell sharply in May in response to supply side problems and the lockdown measures in most of the main EU markets, losing around one third of value against the five-year average for the month.

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EU Wood Furniture Market: Sliding Before COVID-19 Pandemic – ITTO European Market Report 15th August 2020

wooden chair on blue background

Newly released Eurostat data indicates that the value of EU27+UK wood furniture production was €42.5 billion in 2019, 1.4% less than the previous year. In retrospect, it looks as if the rebound in EU wood furniture production following the 2008 economic crises peaked as early as 2017, as 2019 was the second straight year of decline and the COVID-19 pandemic has damaged market prospects in 2020. Last year, EU wood furniture production was still 20% down, in real terms adjusted for inflation, compared to the years just prior to the 2008 crises.

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Half UK Tropical Timber Trade Value Lost in May – ITTO European Market Report 30th July 2020

As expected, following the UK lockdown in response to COVID-19 introduced on 24th March and allowing for the long lead time in the tropical trade, there was a very sharp decline in UK imports of tropical timber products in May. The total value of UK imports of all tropical wood (HS 44) and wood furniture (HS 94) products during the month was just over US$50 million, only half the value typical in what is usually one the busiest months of the year for the UK trade (Chart 1).

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No Strong COVID-19 Signal Yet in EU Tropical Timber Import Data – ITTO European Market Report 15th July 2020

EU27 (i.e. excluding the UK) tropical timber product imports continued to defy expectations of COVID-19 driven collapse in the four months to April this year. Despite all the large western European countries implementing COVID-19 lockdown measures starting in the second two weeks of March, and mounting supply-side problems in tropical countries, total imports of tropical wood and wood furniture products into in the EU in April were little changed compared to the previous month.

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UK Tropical Wood Trade Down 19% in the First Four Months of 2020 – ITTO European Market Report 15th June 2020

The value of UK imports of tropical wood products was US$360 million in the first four months of 2020, 19% less than the same period last year. Although a significant decline, the downturn is perhaps less than might have been expected given the exceptional circumstances surrounding COVID-19.

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EU Tropical Timber Trade Weakens Before COVID Lockdown – ITTO European Market Report 31st May 2020

Having reached the highest level in more than a decade in October 2019, EU27+UK trade in tropical wood and wood furniture products slowed in the last two months of the year, a trend which accelerated in January and February this year. Contrary to expectations, with the large western European countries implementing COVID-19 lockdown measures during the month, EU imports of tropical wood products picked up again in March this year.

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FII Comment on UK Green Supply Chains Initiative

I was asked today to comment an ongoing move by UK Government, led by Michael Gove, Zac Goldsmith and others, to draw up a “Green Supply Chains” initiative in which one proposal is that due diligence obligations, similar to those already imposed on the timber trade through EUTR, should now be extended to other “forest risk” commodities, such as palm oil and soy.

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EU Organisations Reaffirm Their Support for FLEGT and EUTR – ITTO European Market Report 15th May 2020

Feedback received by the EC on their “fitness check” of the FLEGT and EUTR regulations indicates a high degree of consensus amongst European organisations and interests on the broad aims and objectives of the policy and legislative instruments.

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