Tropical Timber Market Report (2021-5-6)

Wood and wood-based product demand maintained a surge and would likely continue to perform despite challenges such as raw material costs and container shortage. Across the region, authorities are stepping up their efforts to increase their competitiveness. ITTO tells us more about the happenings in Asia.


No change in interest rates

It came as no real surprise that Bank Negara Malaysia (Malaysia’s Central Bank) kept the overnight policy rate unchanged at 1.75 percent saying this will be the case for several months. 

The latest economic indicators portrayed an economic performance with industrial production expanding over nine percent in March.


Sustainability top priority

The Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister, Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali, said government policies have ensured that timber and other strategic commodity industries in the country apply the best sustainable methods so as not to irreversibly impact the forest.

Under the Blueprint Plan for 2021-2030 sustainability is the number one priority for the country in the next 10 years. He commented that, despite being hit by the global pandemic in 2020, Malaysia still recorded RM22.1 billion of exports in terms of timber and wood products.


Forest certification

As at 31 March 2021, the total area of forests certified under Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS) was 5,272,734 hectares. 

There are 22 Forest Management Units (FMU) covering 5,139,745 hectares. Also, there are eight Forest Plantation Management Units (FPMU) covering 132,989 hectares. There are 379 holders of PEFC certificates for Chain of Custody.

The Malaysian Timber Certification Council reported on the 2020 export of wood products from areas certified under MTCS:

•The export of wood products certified under the MTCS increased by eight percent from 243,366.81 cubic metres in 2019 to 263,000.78 cubic metres in 2020.

•The Netherlands continued to be the major importing country of the MTCS certified timber and wood products followed by Japan and the UK, accounting for 28 percent, 19 percent and nine percent respectively of the total for 2020.

•Bangladesh, Yemen and Fiji were the three latest markets for MTSC products bringing the total number importing countries to 72 since 2001.

•2020 saw a decline in the share of sawnwood exports as a percent of total exports from 47 percent in 2019 to 41 percent in 2020. Exports of moulding also declined. However, the share of plywood exports jumped from 8.8 percent in 2019 to 24 percent in 2020.


Automation and digitisation fund announced

In a press release, the Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) says it has allocated RM2.8 million from the RM28.3 development fund million to help industries transform their operations toward the use of automation and digitisation. 

This is to reduce the industry's dependence on foreign labour and open up more employment opportunities for Malaysians.

The timber sector has provided employment for 140,000 people serving in 3,500 wood-based plants nationwide. In addition to the automation fund MTC also runs an Export Assistance Programme with a fund of RM1 million to assist Malaysian exporters of wood products in particular small and medium enterprises (SMEs).


Malaysian trade data

The latest Department of Statistics data shows Malaysian wood product exports for the first two months of this year earned RM3,782 million of which added value productsa ccounted for just over 70 percent. 

For the same period, Malaysia also imported wood products worth RM1,285 million of which commodity products made up 44 percent and value added products 56 percent.


Sabah log export ban confirmed

Sabah Timber Industries Association (STIA) President, Tan Peng Juan, welcomed the decision by the Chief Minister, Hajiji Noor, confirming that Sabah’s log export ban will be maintained.

Mr Tan said this decision has come as a big relief to existing and potential investors in the timber sector. He pointed out the log export ban will help provide job security for the approximately 24,000 employed in the timber industry as will initiatives being developed such as the Sabah Timber Industry Masterplan and the Sabah Forestry and Timber Industry Council.

Furniture export shipments held up – too few containers

The Muar Furniture Association (MFA) chairman, Steve Ong Yeou Huan, has stated that furniture manufacturers have been struggling to secure shipping containers for the past months and that this has led to delayed delivery of export orders.

He said exporters usually dispatch around 7,000 containers monthly but that now only about 5,000 containers get shipped. In addition to this problem the sector is facing rising raw material costs and of the 10 main raw materials used by furniture makers six have increased in price recently.


Consultation on the FSC National Forest Stewardship Standard of Malaysia

FSC Malaysia has launched the draft revised FSC National Forest Stewardship Standard (NFSS) of Malaysia for a public consultation, and convened a national consultative group to develop a position paper on the FSC Policy on Conversion. 

FSC Malaysia began conducting the consultation on the Malaysian NFSS on 1 April. FSC Malaysia was launched in Kuala Lumpur in November 2014 to lead the development process for a NFSS to promote responsible management of forests in Malaysia. 

The Malaysian NFSS, based on the FSC Principles and Criteria (P&C) Version 5 was approved in August 2018, and became effective from April 2019 onwards.

Since the 2018 publication of the Malaysian NFSS, there have been changes to the International Generic Indicators (IGI), Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) and a National High Conservation Value (HCV) Framework which were not included in the earlier Malaysian NFSS.


‘Forest Beyond Timber’ management concept

At an event to mark the state-level ‘2021 International Forest Day’ in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Chief Minister, Hajiji Noor, said economic resources from forests such as eco-tourism, payment for ecosystem services, mangrove and fisheries, carbon transactions, herbs and pharmaceuticals need to be studied and developed to ensure the resources are utilised better.

He added “New wealth from the forests must be explored and utilised through research and development based on the ‘Forest Beyond Timber' management concept’.

Hajiji also reported that over 100,000 hectares of degraded forests have been identified for restoration in Sabah and the State government has budgeted RM26.6 million in the 12th Malaysia Plan for forest rehabilitation and management.



SVLK centre for forest farmers, traders and SMEs

The Secretary of the Directorate General of Sustainable Production Forest Management (PHPL) in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Misran, has emphasised the importance of ensuring that timber coming onto the market must come from legal sources.

To ensure this the government has strengthened the capacity of the private sector through application of the Timber Legality Verification System (SVLK) and the Community Based Forest Enterprises. This, said Misran, was achieved through the Multi-stakeholder Forestry Programme Phase 4 (MFP4).

To further encourage the growth of legally processed wood the Ministry together with MFP4, Javlec (Java Learning Center / NGO) and industry associations built a SVLK clinic to serve community forest farmers, traders and SMEs needing advice on SVLK implementation and procedures.


Indonesian teak furniture a favourite in India

The Head of the Indonesian Trade Promotion Center in Chennai, Kumara Jati, has reported that there is demand in India for some products such as household furniture, home décor items and handicraft made by Indonesian SMEs. 

He added that sales of these products increased over the past year despite the pandemic and the preference was for teak furniture.


Indonesian furniture exports up but far behind Vietnam’s

The Chairman of the Indonesian Furniture and Craft Industry Association (HIMKI), Abdul Sobur, commented on Indonesia’s 5-6 percent increase in furniture exports during the pandemic helped, he pointed out, by the trade friction between the US and China. 

But, said Sobur, the 5-6 percent increase was nothing compared to what was achieved by Vietnam where exports were four times higher than those by Indonesia. According to Sobur, Indonesia has a chance to expand exports especially to the US.

In related news, Sobur said the Association encourages furniture makers to expand sales in the domestic market but admitted that the current export market is much more attractive than the domestic market. 

However, he urged manufacturers not to underestimate the domestic market and to diversify sales. He reported that in 2020, total furniture imports were in the region of IDR10 trillion indicating the growth potential in the local market.


Structural reforms to boost economic growth: Finance Minister

The Finance Minister, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, has said the structural reforms being carried out by the government will boost growth of by over six percent in 2025. The reforms  cover five strategic policies; human resource development, infrastructure development, bureaucratic reform, simplification of regulations and economic transformation.

The main impact will be on expanded investment and exports.


Multi-business forestry model for climate change mitigation

Environmental services in a multi-business forestry model could, according to Siti Nurbaya, Minister of Environment and Forestry, be part of climate change mitigation action by the forestry sector. 

The contribution to climate change mitigation efforts by enterprises could be through activities that can reduce emissions and/or increase carbon sequestration.

The Minister said the government encourages forestry entrepreneurs to adopt a multi-purpose business model so they can contribute to strengthening and supporting climate change mitigation. This will be the challenge for forestry entrepreneurs in the future.

This theme was taken up by the chairman of the Association of Indonesian Forest Concessionaires (APHI), Indroyono Soesilo, who said adaptation and mitigation activities in climate change are important factors in efforts to achieve Indonesia's Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) target and that businesses and other non-state stakeholders are also an important part of this process.

The ability to calculate potential emission reduction is crucial for businesses to determine their contribution to adaptation and mitigation and earn Carbon Economic Value (NEK) credits through both Results Based Payment and carbon trading schemes.

He estimates the potential for emission reduction from natural forests, plantation forests and ecosystem restoration would make a huge contribution in fulfilling Indonesia's NDC goals.

He said incentives absorption of carbon emissions in natural forest areas and plantation forests can be obtained through conservation and management of peatlands, the application of Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) and extension of planting and harvesting time in industrial plantations along with reducing the area logged in natural forests.


SFM core to boosting exports

The senior economist of the Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (INDEF), Dradjad H Wibowo, who is also the Chairman of the Indonesian Forestry Certification Cooperation (IFCC) said that the climate crisis and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will have a central role in the global issues in the future.

Dradjad said for Indonesia the issue of sustainable forest management (SFM) has a major influence on the image of Indonesia’s global image.

He explained that in the past the issue of SFM undermined exports and impacted the economy but with hard work the government, the private sector and civil society has gradually been able to improve its performance and image related to SFM.


Supporting SMEs exports of furniture and craft

According to the Director General of Small and Medium Enterprises and Miscellaneous Industries (IKMA) in the Ministry of Industry, Gati Wibawaningsih, there are plans to assign officers in the Indonesian Trade Promotion Center (ITPC) and trade attachés in Embassies to promote exports by Indonesian SMEs.


Indonesia to lead preparatory dialogue on forest sustainability

Indonesia has agreed to co-chair an international alliance that brings together producers and consumers of forest and agricultural products as well as other commodities.

Together with the UK, Indonesia will lead more than 25 countries grouped in the Forest Agriculture and Commodities Trade (FACT) Dialogue to protect and increase sustainability of supply chains of products.

The UK will host the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Glasgow in November to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. 

The dialogue led by Indonesia is part of preparatory activities for the summit.


Communication strategy needed to support forest farmers

Secretary of the Directorate General of Social Forestry and Environmental Partnerships (PSKL) in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Apik Karyana, has said forest management programmes can be a successful way to provide assistance to forest farmers.

According to him the assistance could be through training forest farmers to better understand the new forestry regulations and to assist them in marketing. 

Professor of Forestry Policy, Faculty of Forestry IPB, Hariadi Kartodiharjo, is of the opinion that assistance for forest farmers is indeed a challenge and that a communication strategy needs to be developed.

In related news the government continues to encourage the use of forests for the community. Based on the 2015-2019 National Medium-Term Development Plan (RPJMN) the target for providing forest management and utilisation access to communities was 12.7 million hectares. 

This figure was then revised in 2020 to 13.9 million hectares. Some 4.5 million hectares. have been distributed said Erna Rosdiana, Director of Social Forestry Area Preparation at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. However, achieving the vision of a sustainable forest and a prosperous community still faces obstacles.



Forest resource policy of military administration

The Forestry Minister, Khin Maung Yi, was quoted by the state-owned newspaper ‘The New Light of Myanmar’ as saying the priority of the administration regarding timber extraction will be forest protection, only the minimum harvest to meet demand will be permitted. 

He added that the export of logs has been banned since 2014 and logging in Bago Yoma has been suspended for ten years. It was earlier announced that logging during the financial year 2021-2022 will be suspended.

With regard to the development of the wood-based industry in the country, the Minister said the focus will be on value-added wood products and the Forest Department and the private sector should work together to achieve this and expand export markets. 

However, some NGOs are urging a boycott of timber from Myanmar since the income derived from exports will support the military.

Regarding the one-year logging ban for 2021-2022 the website of Myanma Timber Enterprise (MTE) uploaded the official notification from the Ministry dated 27 April 2021. Initially, MTE had targeted to harvest 6,000 tons of teak logs and 220,000 tons of other hardwood logs.

The frequent suspension of monthly log tender sales as result of anti-covid19 preventive measures and the decline in milling has resulted in a build-up of log stocks.

According to exporters the suspension of export licenses for sawnwood has not yet been revoked and they are waiting for their licenses.

However, even if the licenses are issued the challenge now for exporters is the availability of containers. The cost of a 20ft container for the route to Europe has surged to around US$6,000. Last year the cost was just US$1,800 per container.


Significant risk of economic collapse - UN

A United Nations Development Programme report concludes that Myanmar’s economy is facing significant risks of collapse and the level of poverty is as bad as in 2005.

Over the past 10 years, Myanmar’s average economic growth has exceeded six percent. However, the World Bank has now projected growth to contract by 10 percent this year because of the coup, by far the biggest contraction in Asia, which is already reeling from the impact of coronavirus.

The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) warned that up to 3.4 million citizens could go hungry this year amid rising food prices and the loss of manufacturing, construction and services jobs. 

The WFP estimated that food insecurity is rising sharply in Myanmar alongside food prices and joblessness. It said COVID-19 concerns are also accelerating the economic deterioration and humanitarian crisis.

The UNDP estimated that the impact of military rule and the COVID-19 pandemic could force nearly half of Myanmar’s population into poverty by 2022.



Domestic demand collapsed due to pandemic

In April, production for India’s domestic market slowed to an eight-month low as the early signs of the second wave of corona infections dampened consumer sentiment, however, there was an upturn in international orders which, in April, rose again for the eighth consecutive month.

India’s exports surged a record to US$30 billion in April 2021. Exports had contracted by over 60 percent in April 2020 due to the nationwide lockdown and this led to a halt in the manufacturing sector.

The latest wood product export data for the period April to December 2020 reveals a slight decline compared to the same period in 2019. From March 2020 exports dropped due to the pandemic and sluggish global demand.

In April, the IHS Markit India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 55.5 after falling to a seven-month low in March as new export orders grew the fastest since October.


Revising the Forestry Act revisited

On 8 April this year the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change called for ‘Expression of Interest’ for shortlisting consultancy companies that could prepare a draft comprehensive amendment to the Indian Forest Act 1927 created in pre-independent India.

The objective of this latest exercise is to prepare a ‘draft of the comprehensive amendment of Indian Forest Act, 1927’ in consultation with state governments and union territories, central government ministries and other stakeholders according to the Ministry.


New investments in particleboard production

The growing demand for particleboard, driven partly by increased purchases of ready to assemble furniture, is attracting investment in production by major companies.

Currently, particleboard production is dominated by small sized producers but now some of the laminate manufacturers see an opportunity in panel production.

The Times of India has reported that the Gujarat Government has approved a proposal from Merino Laminates to establish a particleboard plant at Halol in Panchmahal district. 

Plyreporter has indicated that other high pressure decorative laminate producers are also considering moving to downstream panel production.



VNTLAS with new requirements on timber import

In Vietnam, Decree 102 issued by the Government to operate VNTLAS became effective from 31 October, 2020. 

Following this Decree, overseas suppliers of timber for Vietnam have been classified into countries of active geographic areas and non-active geographic areas.

With this classification in place out of over 100 countries having timber export to Vietnam, there are 51 countries attributed to active geographical areas. 

At present, out of all African countries which are exporting tropical timber to Vietnam, South Africa alone is listed as the country of active geographic areas.

To tighten the control over the legality of timber imports Decree 102 also classified import species into risk and low risk groups. Risk species encompass those that are either imported into Vietnam for the first time or listed by CITES or are endangered species.

In addition to currently applicable documents including Sale Contract, Packing List, Bill of Lading, Quarantine Certificate and Certificate of Origin, with the newly issued Decree to operate VNTLAS before clearing customs formalities importers may be asked to provide additional evidence to prove timber legality such as logging license (if applicable in sourcing countries), SFM certificate, timber processing/transportation license etc.


Industry gains new foothold in global market

Despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic wood and wooden product exports posted impressive growth in the first quarter of 2021 due to the efforts of many businesses to apply advanced technology, develop new products and make use of online marketing channels.

Nguyen Chanh Phuong, Vice Chairman of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of Ho Chi Minh City (HAWA), said that by tapping into its production advantages and emerging market opportunities Vietnam has surpassed Poland, Germany, and Italy to become the World’s second-largest wood and wooden product exporter behind China.

He explained that the Covid-19 pandemic forced people in many countries and regions, especially the US, the EU, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, all major importers of Vietnamese wooden items, to work from home leading to greater demand for home furniture.

In addition, he said, many international buyers have switched to Vietnamese suppliers as the country has a safe production environment. Vietnam’s wood and furniture businesses are also relatively accomplished at recognising and seizing market opportunities.

Tran Lam Son, Director of marketing and quality management at the Thien Minh Furniture Company, pointed out that the recent shift in global wood product and furniture supply chains has benefited Vietnam.

International buyers have increasingly valued the production capacity, design, and technology of Vietnamese wood producers. Moreover, due to supply chain disruptions caused by Covid-19, global distributors now tend to diversify and seek safer supply sources.

Pham Thi Hong Quang, general director of the Viet Source Handicraft, revealed that her company’s revenue soared 40 percent last year despite the tense developments from coronavirus outbreak. 

The number of orders in the opening months of this year continued to rise as foreign importers began stockpiling products to prepare for the end on restriction on people’s movement.


Rising raw material costs

According to Nguyen Liem, general director of Lam Viet JSC, a manufacturer of wooden chairs, boards and beds for export prices for imported timber have increased by 10-25 percent since July last year depending on the source.

The Vietnam Administration of Forestry in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development estimated the wood import value of wood in the first three months of 2021 was almost US$700 million, up 31 percent from a year earlier. 

The rise is the result of increased demand as well as higher FOB and transport costs.

Vietnamese imports of timber come mainly from five countries; China, the United States, Cameroon, Thailand and Chile which account for over 50 percent of the total value of imports.


Online trade promotion here to stay

Bui Thi Thanh An, vice director of the Trade Promotion Agency at the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said nearly 50 national-level trade promotion programmes were cancelled or postponed last year due to the pandemic and this undermined export growth and the economy. 

To address this challenge the agency has quickly adopted information technology (IT) and changed how trade promotion activities are held.

More than 500 international online trade conferences have now been organised, along with more than one million online trade exchanges. These events helped connect more than 2,000 businesses with foreign partners in different markets, An said.

The agency has also made use of social networks and Vietnamese trade offices abroad to support businesses seeking markets. Although online trade promotion has become more common and was initially considered a temporary solution it seems this approach will be a key element of trade promotion.


China the top investor in Vietnam’s timber industry

According to VNFOREST, over the first three months of 2021, there were 10 new wood product plants opened by foreign investors from six countries with a total invested capital of US$112.51 million. 

China continued topping number of new FDI projects in the wood industry sector of Vietnam.

Out of the 10 new projects, eight projects were for production of beds, cupboards and seats.

Investors from China accounted for half of the new projects at US$13.86 million followed by Hong Kong (1 project for pallet production) Singapore (1 project for wood/plastic flooring production), Belize (1 project on indoor/outdoor furniture), South Korea (1 project on plantation establishment) and the British Virgin Islands (1 project on production of dining tables, seats, beds and cupboards).

In addition, in the first three months of 2021, there were two foreign investors which increased invested capital. One was Chinese which expanded composite flooring production capacity, the other was from Hong Kong which upscaled its kitchen and vanity production factory.


Vietnam’s Forestry development Strategy

On 4 April 2021 the Prime Minister approved the Vietnam Forestry Development Strategy for the period 2021-2030 with a vision to 2050. 

The strategy targets that by 2050 the forestry sector will have become a modern, effective and highly competitive sector bringing into full play the potentials and advantages of tropical forest resources with modern and environmentally friendly technology.

The sector will have created a diversified product range with high added value and will be a partner in global value supply chains.

In terms of the contribution to society the forestry sector will make an important contribution to building a safe and prosperous country; a green economy will be associated with forest resources, the traditional cultural identities and living space of ethnic minorities will be preserved and the sector will contribute to national defence and security.

On the environment, attention will be paid to sustainable forest management and long-term conservation of natural resources and biodiversity; ensuring environmental security, water source security, minimising land degradation and negative impacts of natural disasters, proactively responding to climate change and providing forest environment services; and participating in an active and responsible manner and fully implementing the signed international commitments.



Radiata and kauri plywood not sanctioned by US

The US government has announced that radiata pine and kauri plywood products manufactured in China can be exported to the US. Also, China’s laminated veneer lumber (LVL) is not subject to US anti-dumping and anti-subsidies policies.

This kind of LVL is defined as: a product with a length of not more than 2450mm, a width of not more than 50mm and a thickness of not more than 50mm used for door stiles and rails.


Rapid growth of furniture industry in Nankang

Furniture manufacturing is a pillar of the economy in Nankang District, Ganzhou City in Jiangxi province and the rapid growth of the sector that began in 2016 continues. 

The Nankang furniture industry cluster expanded output from RMB100 billion to RMB200 billion in four years. It is forecast that the output value will exceed RMB500 billion in three to five years and the cluster will become a significant force in the international market in the near future. 

In order to achieve the development target of RMB500 billion for furniture industry, the following opinions and suggestions are put forward:

•Leader groups, expert groups and core enterprise development groups will be established to further promote the rapid realisation of the development target.

•Leading furniture enterprises should be strengthened to drive investment in industrial development.

•Policies for intelligent manufacturing should be formulated to promote industrial transformation. 

•Raw material inputs and output should be diversified.

•Policy support should be provided to promote the building of the Nankang Furniture Brand Pavilion to improve sales and brand awareness.


Nankang is promoting the establishment of a Nankang Furniture University to create a talent pool to support the sustainable development of the furniture industry.

In other news from Nankang, it has been reported that furniture makers in the district are, for the first time embedding smart chips in the vertical furniture surface to facilitate identification in support of blockchain technology. 

The chip allows customers may know all information on the furniture product such as production and processing, logistics distribution, product sales and raw materials.

The debut of intelligent chips will further enhance brand influence and added value and strengthen the competitiveness of Nankang furniture products.


Rise in China’s wooden door production but exports drop

According to the Market Prosperity Index for China’s wooden doors in 2020, due to the influence of Chinese New Year factors combined with the Covid-19 epidemic, the index from the first to the second quarter 2020 was trending down. 

However, in June, with the resumption of production, the gradual recovery of the consumer market and increasing demand for large-scale projects, the index became positive.

The total value of China’s wooden door output rose three percent to RMB157 billion in 2020. Among the various categories of doors the share of engineered doors increased significantly. Online sales of wooden doors in 2020 increased 50 percent.

The value of China’s wooden door exports fell eight percent year on year to US$589 million in 2020. The top six provinces with export values of more than US$30 million were Guangdong (US$131 million), Zhejiang (US$119 million), Liaoning (US$110 million), Shandong (US$87 million), Fujian (US$62 million) and Jiangsu (US$37 million).

There was a nine percent rise in exports from Fujian Province and an 18 percent increase in Jiangsu Province but the value of wooden doors exports in Guangdong, Zhejiang, Liaoning and Shandong fell.

The top six export markets for China’s wooden doors in 2020 were the US (23%), Japan (14%), Hongkong (13%), UK (7%), Canada (4%) and Romania (4%).


Rise in wood product exports in Hulunbuir City

According to Manzhouli Customs, in the first quarter of 2021, the volume of wood product exports from Hulunbuir City was 3,287 tonnes valued at US$3.937, up 22 percent in volume and 36 percent in value. 

The products were exported to Japan, South Korea and Germany and included mainly wooden disposable chopsticks, wooden doors and window frames and wooden multilayer panels.


Rise plywood production capacity

There were more than 15,200 plywood manufacturers with a total annual production capacity of 256 million cubic metres in China at the end of 2020 distributed in 26 provinces (municipalities and autonomous regions). 

This number of plants was up 12 percent on 2019.

The average production capacity of the enterprise is about 17,000 cubic metres per year. More than 1,750 plywood manufacturers stopped operations or had licenses cancelled by the end of 2020.

There are seven provinces and four prefectures and cities in China with annual plywood production capacity exceeding 10 million cubic metres.


First block chain-based timber business trial

Block chain technology has been introduced to try to establish a national first block chain-based timber business service platform at Rizhao Port in Shandong Province which has broken the traditional cargo handling model to improve transparency and traceability. This initiative could bring cost savings to customers.

After the upstream traders” timber ships arrive at the port the blockchain timber business service platform will immediately log on to release the basic information such as the ship’s name, tree species, grade, quantity, freight yard, contact information, etc.

The downstream buyer/customers can obtain the information directly from the platform breaking the information barrier and realising the transformation of the single market to a diversified market for downstream customers.


China/EU private sector trade centre in Changzhou City

A new facility to promote China/EU trade has been launched in a centre in the International Cooperation Industrial Park in Tian’ning District of Changzhou City in Jiangsu province.

This initiative launched by the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Satakunta University of Applied Sciences and supported by the European Union Regional Development Fund and Interreg Central Baltic Programme 2014-2020 aims at promoting trade between small and medium-sized wood enterprises in China and European countries for exports of wooden houses, doors and windows and furniture.

Project partners believe that companies from the Central Baltic Region have a high potential for cooperation with China and that Latvian, Estonian and Finnish companies can be good trading partners with companies in China.

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