Market based and regulatory/enforcement mechanisms- assessment of impacts on timber trade between South-east Asia and Europe

University essay from SLU/Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre

Abstract: Raised public concern in the European Union (EU) about the legality of its timber imports, the need to combat illegal logging and deforestation, and for promoting sustainable forest management practices, have pushed the EU commission to raise its standards and legality demands for wood imports. Combining literature review, structured interviews of importers and end-users of hardwood timber, and trade data analysis this study assesses the combined potential influence from the policy mechanisms FLEGT, the EU Timber regulation (EUTR), and different third party verification schemes on the timber trade between tropical countries and Europe. As this combined impact is more readily traced at national level, this study focuses on the implications of the abovementioned policy instruments on the trade in tropical timber between Indonesia and the UK, being important suppliers and consumers of tropical timber respectively. The results indicate that FLEGT and EUTR could reinvigorate the, until now, rather ineffective (in the narrow sense of stopping illegal timber trade) third party verification schemes. The literature as well as answers from interviews and questionnaires indicates that FLEGT and the EUTR could reinforce the current trend of decreasing imports of tropical timber to EU. The substitution of oak lumber for tropical hardwood lumber mentioned in the literature as well as in interviews and questionnaires is confirmed by the results of econometric analysis. The interviews also indicate a diversion of exports of tropical timber to destinations with less stringent regulatory framework than the EU.

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