The International Timber Federation Forum took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on 3 October.
The conference was organised by the Malaysia Timber Council (MTC), EFI’s EU FLEGT Asia Regional Funding and the European Timber Trade Federation (ETTF), together with support from TTAP. With over 260 participants, it provided the timber trade federations and private sector from around the world with the latest updates on specific legal timber market requirements in the USA, EU and Australia.
The event followed a similar theme to the International Timber Trade Federation Day (ITTFD) hosted by TFT in Geneva in 2008, 2009 and 2010, and helped address the key concerns of producers and buyers alike to maintain access to their key markets.
A recurring misinterpretation of the three regulations during the event was that each requires verified or certified material. It was however clearly stated by representatives of the USA, EU and Australia that verified or certified material is not an obligation and that it the sole responsibility of the importer to undertake due care/diligence and ensure the legality of timber products purchased. Regardless of this fact, the reality is that given the importers’ liability, it is likely that independently verified/certified timber will be used as a means to manage and mitigate risk through providing additional assurances of legality whilst implementing their due care/diligence systems. Producers should therefore be prepared for more enquiries from buyers requesting documentation that the timber used in their products is legal.
Given the misunderstanding of some elements of the regulatory measures, the launch of the International Timber Trade Forum following the event was well received as a means to provide an industry support network for information exchange to facilitate industry cooperation and comprehension of the changing market requirements. More information and details of the Forum and its organisation will follow.
The event took place in conjunction with the highly successful MTC’s 2012 Global WoodMart from 4 - 6th October. An exhibition booth was shared by EFI’s EU FLEGT Asia, the ETTF and the TTAP Project, and the joint information resources were very well received by the Woodmart’s visitors. See here for more information http://www.globalwoodmart.my/
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