A short analysis on the stricter European regulations on tropical hardwood imports and their side effects
Eric J.M.M. Aretz
Hin Fui Lim
This paper analyses the side effects of the stricter regulation on tropical hardwood or timber imports. It considers the place of Europe within the global timber market, where Europe accounts only for a very limited share. It also explains the high selectivity of European markets, with its consequences. While tropical wooden furniture and other secondary processed products are not considered as timber here, their question is also discussed. The number of empirical studies specifically dealing with the side effects of EU regulations is limited, but the results are converging, showing that these regulations have a general adverse effect, contrary to the initial aim of promoting the sustainability of tropical timbers. These side effects are essentially to divert the trade towards countries with lower standards, and to add a burden on most of the producing countries which have already a set of comparative disadvantages for the production of legal or sustainable timber. The effects are positive on a limited number of companies which markets are very dependent of Europe. The question is then analysed from a broader perspective, replacing the effects of the EU regulations as an incidental factor compared to the increasing consumption of tropical timber by the three developing giants: Brazil, India and China.
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