Timber exports to EU heading

Kamis, 12 Februari 2015 | 10:05

Indonesia’s timber exports to the EU are expected to hit US$1 billion this year, as more timber producers adopt the local timber legality verification system (SVLK) to tap growing timber demand from the EU.Indonesian Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the EU Arif Havas Oegroseno said in Jakarta on Tuesday that the EU’s agreement last year recognized that the SVLK wood-auditing system had contributed to a sharp increase in timber exports to EU countries.

Shipments of timber and timber products to the 28-member bloc rose by 27 percent to $690 million in 2014 from a year earlier. The significant surge was also seen in exports from small and medium enterprises, such as in Jepara, Yogyakarta and Bali.

“We hope we can hit the $1 billion mark this year,” Havas told reporters after meeting Industry Minister Saleh Husin.

Opportunities for Indonesia to increase exports to the EU have increased, as other countries will face difficulties exporting timber to the region following the implementation of the forest law enforcement, governance and trade (FLEGT) action plan, which restricts timber imports.

Under a deal ratified last year, the EU acknowledged that Indonesia’s timber was legally harvested and conformed with the EU’s timber rules. With such recognition, Indonesian timber obtained a license that exempted Indonesian forest products from mandatory due diligence.

Indonesia, one of the world’s largest timber suppliers, is the first country to have the agreement ratified by the European Parliament.

Indonesian Furniture Entrepreneurs Association (Asmindo) chairman Taufik Gani said his business group was upbeat about achieving the $1 billion export estimate, particularly driven by the SVLK.

“The SVLK gives confidence to European buyers to purchase our timber products,” he said.

Interest in Indonesian forest products has been high among European buyers at furniture expos in Europe recently, with exporters receiving higher-than expected orders, particularly from French, German and Dutch buyers.

Apart from wanting higher timber exports to the EU, Indonesia also aimed to sell ships to the region, Havas said, illustrating an example of tanker sales by state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL Indonesia to Germany.

“The shipbuilding industry in Europe has shrunk due to the crisis, so they are sourcing from shipyards in Asia. We suggested to the industry minister to start expanding sales to Europe aggressively,” he said.

To promote Indonesian goods and services in Europe, a number of Indonesian firms in the information technology and telecommunication sectors are slated to take part in CeBIT, the world’s biggest computer expo in Hannover, Germany, on March 16-20, according to Havas.

Among them will be wireless cell phone chargers, IT hardware and program firms.
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