The consensus amongst hardwood importers interviewed during December is that the current state of trade across the EU is satisfactory and there is cautious optimism it will remain that way into 2019. However various issues are causing concern.
One preoccupation is the impact of the UK’s departure from the EU, scheduled for 29 March 2019. Not only is the UK one of the EU’s top direct importers of both tropical and temperate hardwoods, it is a key buyer from international traders on the European continent.
Importers are worried both by the potential effect of Brexit on consumer confidence and on the mechanics of doing business in the British market going forward.
“The overall lack of clarity on Brexit is itself also a headache,” said a continental European hardwood importer/producer. “Business dislikes uncertainty.”