Programme Paper

Rupert Oliver
Finnish Green party EU deputy Satu Hassi, who negotiated a deal with the 27 EU states, votes on banning illegal timber trade from the EU market on 7 July 2010 at the EU Parliament in Strasbourg, France. Photo by Georges Gobet/AFP/Getty Images.Finnish Green party EU deputy Satu Hassi, who negotiated a deal with the 27 EU states, votes on banning illegal timber trade from the EU market on 7 July 2010 at the EU Parliament in Strasbourg, France. Photo by Georges Gobet/AFP/Getty Images.

This paper outlines the current and likely future significance of a range of composite products in the EU wood import trade and the implications for implementation of the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR).

Composite wood products comprise a significant proportion of the EU’s imports: some 80 per cent of all EU-27 imports of wood-based products by value are defined as composite wood products, of which furniture products represent 20 per cent. In light of this, the success or failure of the EUTR hinges heavily on its ability to enforce credibly in relation to the particular characteristics and complexities of the composite wood products trade.

Much of the focus of the policy and implementation discussions at the European Commission has related to trade and compliance with respect to non-composite solid timber products, particularly those from countries involved in negotiations for a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) under the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) programme. Greater attention should be paid to the implications of capturing such a large, complex and increasingly dominant part of the wood sector within the EUTR.