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FLEGT License: Indonesia Penetrates to the UK timber market

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Indonesian Ambassador to the UK Desra Percaya said that all stakeholders must work together to promote Indonesian wood products in the UK market and the European Union.

Armed with a FLEGT-licensed certificate, Indonesian wood products actually have a strong potential to increase market share in Europe.

The Indonesian Ambassador stated that from the potential market for wood products in the UK, which reaches 15 billion US dollars per year, Indonesia is currently only able to fill 2.15%.

“We, the Indonesian government and forest industry players in Indonesia and the UK need to take systematic and concrete action in the market,” he said in in a discussion entitled “FLEGT Licensed Indonesian Timber Products in The UK” which took place from London, England, Tuesday, March 29, 2022.

Desra said that this needed to be done to increase awareness that Indonesian wood products were not only legal but also produced sustainably in accordance with the demands of the British market.

To ensure the legality and sustainability of wood products, Indonesia has developed the SVLK (Certificate of Legality and Sustainability Verification).

Thanks to its accountability and transparency, SVLK is recognized as a voluntary partnership agreement for law enforcement, governance and trade in the Indonesian-EU forestry sector (VPA-FLEGT). The certificate document issued under the SVLK is also equivalent to a FLEGT license.

The UK, which has just left the European Union, continues to equalize the SVLK certificate as a FLEGT license in line with the bilateral agreement on FLEGT implementation through the Indonesia-UK VPA in March 2019.

However, it is not easy to penetrate the UK market. In the discussion, importers and traders of wood products in the UK who were present were ready to help promote Indonesian wood products because they believed in the accountability of the SVLK.

They revealed that British consumers are very demanding about the sustainability of wood.

Therefore, the various advantages of Indonesian wood products must continue to be promoted. Including one of them is about the impact of the implementation of the SVLK which has succeeded in supporting the decline in the rate of deforestation in Indonesia.

Director General of Sustainable Forest Management Ministry of Environment and Forestry Agus Justianto revealed that Indonesia’s deforestation rate has indeed fallen drastically.

The latest data shows that Indonesia’s deforestation rate has fallen by 75% from the previous 450,000 hectares per year to 115,000 hectares in the 2019-2020 period. “This is partly because of the SVLK,” said Agus.

Agus stated that to strengthen the market penetration of wood products in Indonesia, it is necessary to strengthen the implementation of VPA.

He also encouraged the UK government and the European Union to consistently provide convenience for Indonesian wood products as the only ones that have been FLEGT licensed, in accordance with the agreement signed on the FLEGT VPA in article 13.

“We also need to continue to expand market recognition in the European Union and the UK,” he said.

Chairman of the Indonesian Forestry Community Communication Forum (FKMPI) Indroyono Soesilo is optimistic that there is still ample opportunity for Indonesian wood products in the UK market.

“Despite the pandemic, exports of Indonesian wood products to the European Union have shown an increase,” said Indroyono, who is also the general chairman of the Indonesian Forest Concessionaires Association (APHI).

Ministry of Environment and Forestry data processed by APHI shows that Indonesia’s wood product exports to the UK in 2021 reached US$274.4 million. The wood products that are most in demand are panels with an export value of 177.3 million US dollars.

For 2022, in February, wood product exports to the UK reached US$44.2 million, an increase of 15.29% year on year.

This export record makes the UK one of the largest markets for Indonesian wood products in Europe. Besides the UK, the largest markets for Indonesian timber products are the Netherlands (US$48.7 million in February 2022), Germany (US$29.7 million), and Belgium (24.6 million US dollars).***

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