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FEBO Deputy Secretary general, Sabine Heyman made a statement on the point of view of the Trade concerning PPP at the UNECE/FAO – Policy Forum on 5 October 2006 in Geneva.
trade associations

09 October 2006

FEBO Deputy Secretary general, Sabine Heyman made a statement on the point of view of the Trade concerning PPP at the UNECE/FAO – Policy Forum on 5 October 2006 in Geneva.

She emphasised that Trade has the experience to meet demands on the market. FEBO therefore considered it important to attend this meeting and to explain trade’s position so as to contribute to a better understanding of the situation and the measures needed.
Indeed, the respective positions of the other stakeholders, such as Governments, Industry and Ngo’s, had already been heard several times but not the one of the Trade. FEBO federates 15 National Timber Trade Organisations, including both retail and wholesale, and, monitors both import and national trade (apart from the situation in Belgium and Denmark). Even more precisely FEBO represents around 3000 timber trade companies with an annual global turnover of 50.000 Mio € . Two years ago FEBO adopted, a new article in its cby-laws , supporting Sustainable Forestry, condemning Illegal Logging and associated Trade. FEBO hereby recognised that certification is the best way to improve sustainability.
Governments have a powerful influence on markets, through their Timber Trade Policies and they can influence other big buyers to adapt similar policies. Suppliers, keen to stay in the market, respond to these policies. This is the reason why Public procurement policies ( PPP) are an ideal tool in the fight against illegal logging and associated trade in illegally sourced products. Public Procurement Policies however, and that’s what Trade requests by way of absolute priority should respond to some minimum requirements:

1. It should be transparent
2. It should be the result of full consultation
3. It should be based on measurable and objective criteria
4. It should Be simple and easy to apply: KEEP IT SIMPLE!
So many different systems have already been established and this complexity makes it confusing and increasingly difficult to ensure adequate follow up.
At the international FEBO Congress in Basel, on last 1 September a trader very pointedly highlighted that : “In the end there’ll be a stage full of experts trying to explain all the different systems but almost no traders in the audience, as traders will be turned off by the complexity of the different systems and the lack of agreement between them.”
5. A harmonization of the different public procurement policies is therefore an absolute necessity. If harmonization is not achieved trade barriers will be established. The different Trade Associations indeed develop effective purchasing policies in response to government buying pressure, but these efforts are partly getting lost as a result from diverging signals from governments in the respective countries where a distinct policy has been established. One concrete example is the different attitude from the governments towards MTCC, the different attitude towards PEFC (UK versus B) The various Trade Associations in EU are willing to work together to find a single approach.
FEBO wants to play a role in this attempt for harmonization, and wants to transmit these signals of the market forces, through the supply chains, to the producers. FEBO is an associated member of TTAP (Timber Trade Action Plan). This project is one of the clear signals of the willingness of the EU Timber Trade Federations to work together with partners in producing countries, linking up buyers with their suppliers to ensure effective legality in their supply chains.