Wood Import Trade

The Wood Import Trade group brings together wood importers who are responsible for the procurement and import of raw or semi-finished wood from around the world. Many of these companies also process wood. They are often suppliers to woodworking and furniture manufacturers, the construction industry, and the specialised wood trade.

03 HOUTINVOER VDC Copyright STUDIO ILLIAS TEIRLINCK 08 Vandecasteele Houtimport - Studio Illias Teirlinck
The use of wood sourced from sustainably managed forests must obviously be encouraged.

New European framework on deforestation

On 17 November 2021, the European Commission published its new strategy to combat global deforestation. This framework not only replaces the European Timber Regulation (EUTR), in force since 2013, but also extends its scope, for example to other products such as coffee, soya, livestock, etc.

Whereas the EUTR was limited to verifying the legality of timber, the new EU forest strategy also takes the sustainability aspect into account. From now on, timber can only be placed on the market:

  • if it was harvested in accordance with the legislation in the country of origin (legality aspect);
  • AND: it must not come from deforestation or forest degradation (sustainability aspect).

During the prior public consultation, Fedustria, together with the European sector federations CEI-Bois and EPF, highlighted the importance of sustainable forest management (economic, environmental, social), as well as the importance of the bio-based industry and therefore also the wood and furniture industry, and the prominent role of forests as well as wood products as carbon sinks. Fedustria continues to actively monitor this through the European sector federations CEI-Bois, ETTF, EPF and EFIC.

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Wood, a candidate and precious resource

In recent years, the Chinese hunger for spar from Europe, including Belgium, has grown sharply, reaching a peak during the coronavirus pandemic. The result is that Belgian (and European) processors often have difficulty procuring the timber volumes needed for their production. And as if that was not enough, our producers are subsequently faced with competition from imported products or semi-finished products from China, made from the same timber.

Since 1 January 2022, Russia has stopped exporting tree trunks, and the expected indirect effect is that China will increase its supplies to the European market. Added to this is the fact that European timber supplies have suffered serious negative impacts in recent years from the European spruce bark beetle, droughts, forest fires, etc. In any case, finding a balance between wood supply and demand is the challenge. Consequently, there is an urgent need for an intelligent resource policy that also takes into account making forests more resistant to the effects of climate change.

Key figures
Number of companies 38
Number of employees 600
Turnover (in million EUR) 700

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