According to ttjonline, Indonesia has rowed back on plans to weaken rules for the timber exports, following warnings the proposed move would undermine efforts to combat illegal logging and deforestation.

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Despite the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact, the wood industry still enjoyed 3.2 billion USD in exports in the first four months of 2019, up 6 percent year on year, thanks to businesses’ efforts to switch to online trading and find new markets, reports from VNA.

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During January-March 2020 Russia’s export of sawn goods made 4.1 mn tons, down 7.5% year-on-year. According to the RF Federal Customs Service’s statistics, in terms of value, sawn goods export was down 6% making $966.4 mn, according to Sea News.

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According to biomassmagazine.com, the U.S. Forest Service on April 16 announced it is awarding a total of $7.62 million to 35 projects as part of the agency’s Wood Innovations Grant Program. Eight of those projects focus on renewable energy, while the remaining 27 focus on expanding markets for wood products.

The Wood Innovations Grant program advances innovations in wood products that create jobs, revitalize local economies and support sustainable forest land management. According to the Forest Service, the 35 businesses, nonprofits, universities and tribal partners selected for the current round of funding will match the grants with an additional $131 million.

“Markets for wood products are key to supporting sustainable management and restoration of our nation’s forested lands,” said Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen. “We can keep both public and private forests healthy and resilient by fostering economic opportunities around wood products.”

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The government is considering restrictions on imports of furniture to help protect domestic manufacturers and reduce imports of non-essential items. In 2018-19 India's furniture imports amounted to US$603 mil with over half coming from China, reports by ITTO.

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade has suggested to its commerce counterpart to put the restrictions. Putting a product in restricted category means an importer will require a license for the inbound shipment.

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According to ITTO, Executive Director of Association of Indonesian Forest Concessionaires (APHI) in Indonesia, Purwadi Soeprihanto, said that the association was committed to meeting the Timber Legality Verification System (SVLK) requirements for products to be exported adding that the SVLK has reduced the stigma of illegal logging and weak forest management in Indonesia.

Purwadi said he hopes that the SVLK requirements for the small enterprises could be simplified, especially related to business licensing requirements and assistance for implementing SVLK certification. 

Purwadi estimated that processed wood product exports will decline this year because the five main export destinations for Indonesian processed wood, China, the United States, Japan, the European Union and South Korea are badly affected by the pandemic.

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While the population of the U.S. is almost evenly split between “red” (Republican-leaning) and “blue” (Democratic-leaning) counties, the same is not true for the distribution of single-family and multifamily construction.

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Economic activity in the manufacturing sector grew in February and the US economy grew for the 130th consecutive month according to the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business.

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According to ITTO, China’s log imports in 2019 totalled 60.57 million cubic metres valued at US$9.434 billion (CIF), a year on year increase of just 1% in volume but there was a decline in the value of imports by 14%. The average price for imported logs was US$156 (CIF) per cubic metre.

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In the wooden furniture sector, recent trade trends suggest a slowdown in overall European consumption, although there is some positive news for external suppliers who benefited from increased EU market penetration during 2019.

Meanwhile EU wooden furniture exports were sliding consistently throughout 2019 while imports were beginning to rise. Taken together these trends imply a slowdown in sales for the EU wooden furniture manufacturing sector in 2019.

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