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.
Previous IMM Consultations in London, Nantes, Berlin and Antwerp have drawn a diverse audience, including timber businesses, specifiers, end-users, retailers, representatives of Competent Authorities and other stakeholders. The Barcelona event is expected to attract a similarly broad range of delegates. The first workshop, led by IMM Trade Analyst Rupert Oliver, will look at trends in the European tropical timber sector, background, reasons and solutions. Delegates will be invited to discuss latest market developments and outlook and key factors shaping supply and demand. They will also be asked to rate different market drivers in order of significance.
The second will centre on priorities and purchasing dynamics in the tropical wood products sector; how supply chain relationships develop and the relevance and impact in business and buying decisions of FLEGT licensing. Andrew Escott of the Global Timber Forum will moderate. There will also be a presentation from George White on the materials specifying and sourcing policies of architects, a topic on which he is leading an IMM study (see p5). He will look at the role of FLEGT licensing in architects’ procurement decisions, and the significance in the sector of green building rating systems.
Workshop three focuses on FLEGT impacts in African VPA countries, and challenges facing European companies involved in timber production on the continent. Chris Beeko of the Ghana Forestry Commission will give an update on the Final Joint Assessment in the country, and the EFI FLEGT Facility will address latest VPA developments in the Republic of the Congo and Cameroon.
According to latest IMM analysis of Eurostat figures, Spanish tropical sawn timber imports from January to May 2019 rose 26.1% to 35,000 tonnes, making it the fourth biggest EU importer of that product group in this period after Belgium, the Netherlands and France. Greatest increases came in imports from Cameroon, up 94% to 11,753 tonnes, and Brazil, up 9% to 19,741 tonnes.
This year members of the AEIM board of directors held special talks with the Spanish Competent Authority at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA). Among topics discussed was regionality of EU Timber Regulation enforcement. AEIM pointed out that due diligence documentation requirements vary between Spain’s local authorities, as does policy on sample testing. Some are also demanding supplementary information and paperwork, including CITES certificates, waste management details and machinery operation permits.
AEIM praised MAPA for creating its new Lignum website, which provides details on the operation of the EU FLEGT initiative, FLEGT licensing and the EUTR. It also gives due diligence guidance and information on VPA partner countries. MAPA agreed to work with AEIM on future EUTR workshops and information sessions for members.