On its second day, the Fifty-seventh Session of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC-57) and the Associated Sessions of its four Committees, delegates participated in the Annual Market Discussion as well as the Trade Statement from the Trade Advisory Group (TAG). The joint session of the Committees on Economics, Statistics and Markets (CEM), and on Forest Industry (CFI) also met. The Producer and Consumer Caucuses also held a closed joint question-and-answer session with the three candidates for the position of International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) Executive Director.
This year’s Annual Market Discussion, under the theme “Challenges in manufacturing and trade during the COVID-19 pandemic,” was moderated by Barney Chan, Coordinator, TAG.
Ivan Tomaselli, President, STCP, said in the short-term COVID-19 will still pose challenges for the timber industry in Latin America, especially with market limitations such as inadequate infrastructure and a lack of access to freight. Wu Shengfu, General Manager, Beijing Greenwood Certification Co., Ltd, cited challenges for Chinese timber enterprises, including using block-chain for supply chain management.
Bradley McKinney, Executive Director, International Wood Products Association (IWPA), underscored the disruption in supply chains that have occurred due to, among others, the impact of COVID-19, leading to limited sales of tropical timber in North America, making it difficult to meet demand. Benoit Jobbé-Duval, Directeur Général, Association Technique Internationale des Bois Tropicaux, underscored developing local markets for tropical timber as critical for the future of the industry.
Ernie Koh, Executive Director, Koda, and Secretary General, ASEAN Furniture Industries Council, said there will continue to be increases in freight costs, material costs, leading to increased prices for wood furniture. Sigit Pramono, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Indonesia, expanded on ways forward for licensing and certification of timber in Indonesia for small- and medium-sized enterprises. Jan Hoffmann, Division on Technology and Logistics, UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), noted six reasons freight costs are likely to remain high in the near future, including the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, decarbonization of the industry, and increased risk premiums.
The Trade Statement, presented by Barney Chan, highlighted the impact of COVID-19 on the tropical timber industry, increased labor costs, and the high costs of shipping currently faced by the industry.
The joint session of the CEM and CFI discussed policy work, approved projects and pre-projects, including a project to promote of sustainable domestic wood consumption in Viet Nam, and heard updates on policy-related matters, including on forest and timber certification.
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