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EPF Annual General Meeting in Dublin 5-7 July 2013.
trade associations

17 July 2013

EPF Annual General Meeting in Dublin 5-7 July 2013.

The European Panel Federation, representing the European manufacturers of particleboard, MDF, OSB, hardboard and soft-board, held its Annual General Meeting in Dublin, Ireland (3 - 5 July 2013). In his presentation during the Open Part of the General Assembly on Friday 5 July, EPF President Ladislaus Döry reported that the European particleboard production shrunk further by 5.5% in 2012 and amounted to 28.7 million m3. This production level thus remains far below the output peak at 37.8 million m3 observed in 2007. The furniture industry and the construction sector are the two main drivers behind the particleboard activity. Both remained subdued in 2012, reflecting the European economic context and the stagnant consumption especially for durable goods. The reduction of excess production capacities for particleboard will continue in 2013 and is not expected to end before 2014.
Following two years of moderate growth in 2010 and 2011, MDF production in Europe contracted by 6% in 2012, reaching almost 11 million m3, excluding Turkish and Russian production. This production level is significantly lower than the peak of 2007 at 13.3 million m3. MDF production capacities continue to adapt slowly to lower demand.
In 2012, European production of OSB contracted moderately by 2.3% and still exceeded 3.5 million m3. This level remains somewhat below the production peak at 3.7 million m3 in 2007.
Finally, production of hardboard in Europe increased moderately by 1% in 2012 compared to 2011, reaching 1.2 million m³ and a capacity utilisation rate around 75%. Following a decrease by 5% in 2011, the European production of soft-board upturned by 2.1% in 2012.
The wood-based panels industry is trying slowly to get out of the economic downturn though it stagnated at low level during the year 2012 and continues to face significant challenges such as the limited availability of wood and increases in production costs, especially resins and energy.
Mr Döry also underlined the major event of the past year: the Exhibition in the European Parliament during the first week of December 2012. EPF has embraced the opportunity given by MEP Gaston Franco to establish again an exhibition in the European Parliament in Brussels in close co-operation with CEI-Bois, EOS and other partners in the woodworking sector with the ambition to enhance the knowledge of the EU decision makers at the highest level of the concerns of the woodworking and panel industries on key issues such as carbon storage and wood availability and competition with the biomass energy sector. Attention was appealed through wooden artworks of famous European contemporary artists that like to work with wood and wood-based products.
EPF advocacy action was successful in 2012 and EPF salutes the work of the European Commission and the Parliament to approve the report on the accounting rules and national plans for emissions resulting from land use and land use change from agricultural and forest activities (LULUCF).
The new LULUCF rules finally correct the aberration introduced by the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 when it was decided that, whenever a tree was cut, the CO2 returned to the atmosphere at once. The new rules open the way not only to improve the carbon accounts, but also to include in these accounts the pool of wood products in use in each Member State, by acknowledging that wood, until the end of its useful life, continues storing the CO2 the trees absorbed during their growth. EPF expects that the new LULUCF rules will prompt governments to support the sector concretely, for example by encouraging the replacement of more energy-intensive materials for wood in new construction and renovation.
To conclude, Mr Ladislaus Döry expressed its gratitude to Coillte Panel Products for the invitation to come to Ireland and their tremendous help in making this Annual General Meeting successful.
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