In the first half of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016, total EU imports of tropical timber products declined 8% to 1.12 million metric tonnes (MT).
There was an 18% decline in EU imports of tropical sawn to 349,000 MT, a 13% decline in imports of tropical charcoal to 199,000 MT, a 33% decline in imports of tropical logs to 54,000 MT, and an 11% decline in imports of tropical flooring to 19,000 MT.
These losses were only partly offset by a 31% rise in imports of tropical plywood to 171,000 MT and a 3% rise in imports of tropical veneer to 78,000 MT.
The EU imported 168,000 MT of tropical timber products from Indonesia in the first 6 months of 2017, exactly equivalent to the same period in 2016. This is much less than hoped since Indonesia became the first country to issue FLEGT licenses in November 2016. However, Indonesia has performed better than nearly all other tropical timber supplying countries in the EU market this year.
EU imports declined from all other major tropical supplying countries in the first half 2017, with the lone exception of Brazil. Imports from Brazil were 95,000 MT during the period, a slight (2%) increase compared to the first half of 2016.
EU imports of tropical products (nearly all plywood) also increased 60% from China to 56,000 MT in the first half of 2017.
In contrast, direct EU imports of tropical products from Cameroon declined 20% to 145,000 MT, Malaysia declined 4% to 128,000 MT, Gabon declined 8% to 102,000 MT, Nigeria declined 27% to 75,000 MT (mainly charcoal), Congo declined 24% to 40,000 MT, Côte d'Ivoire declined 27% to 32,000 MT and DRC declined 43% to 19,000 MT.
After rising strongly in 2016, imports of tropical timber products in Belgium declined 21% to 212,000 MT in the first half of 2017. Imports in France, Germany and Italy, which were sliding in 2016, declined further in the first half of 2017.
Imports fell 16% to 146,000 MT in France, 5% to 122,000 MT in Germany and 16% to 95,000 MT in Italy. After showing signs of recovery last year, imports in the Netherlands weakened in the first half of 2017, falling 8% to 131,000 MT.