European Wood Initiative to increase consumption in Far East:

European Wood Initiative to increase consumption in Far East:Joint European wood promotion
in China and Japan
At the headquarters of the European Confederation of Woodworking Industries (CEI-Bois) in Brussels, timber promotion organisations in the major European wood producing countries signed today an agreement to join forces to promote wood in Asia. The main task of the European Wood Initiative will be wood promotion in Japan and China. But increasing the use of wood as a building material also requires the removing of obstacles in standards and laws.Four European wood promotion organisations are working together in the project and will thus contribute to the 600 000 euro budget; the a combined Council of Finland, Sweden and Norway, proHolz Austria, the German Timber Promotion Fund and a FrenchTimber. organisation.“I am very happy today and this agreement is of great importance, not only to us but to the entire wood working industry in Europe,” said Mr. Söderlind. “Cooperation is extremely important and the Initiative in place already has a good base to start from. The Council has been active on the Asian markets since 1993 and we are now more than ready to share all our knowledge and experience with this new initiative and of course also to enjoy the competence and know-how our colleagues here possess.”“It’s a break-through that the major timber countries in Europe are working together in close cooperation like this, showing only one face and speaking with one voice to the new promising markets in Far East,” said Georg Binder, managing director at proHolz Austria.

“This cooperation creates new possibilities for the Asian building trade to be informed about the way of building with wood and the competence and capacity of the European wood industry” says Dirk Alfter, chairman of the board at the German Timber Promotion Fund.

“For FrenchTimbers members, increasing the use and acceptance of European timber is complementary to its core business. The European Wood Initiative will develop the European presence on those markets and facilitate our work with the different ministries. This cooperation will emphasize the qualities and diversity of the European wood industry,” says Jean-François Guilbert, managing director at FrenchTimber.
New technologies and generic promotion top priorities
The first step of the project is to increase acceptance for wood used in new ways and to promote wood as a building material, as opposed competing materials. It is also necessary to remove formal obstacles for the use of wood on the far-east markets. In legislation and standardisation matters, the work is done on a mandate from CEI-Bois.

Any use of any environmentally sound wood is an improvement, but of course, it is the right choice if people end up choosing wood from European suppliers due to their high-developed quality standards and the sustainable managed forests in this area.

Wall systems, roof systems, visual timber grading and a “Handbook of Wood Structures” are in focus for China during 2004.

”The aim now is to revive Chinese wood building traditions with the help of modern European wood technologies and show how these technologies can satisfy the growing demands of China,” says Inge-Bo Asplund, project manager. “And we shouldn’t forget that there is also an increasingly strong demand for wood in interiors.”

In Japan, the main activity will be generic wood promotion and a European Wood Day in Tokyo in September. The wood day is arranged in cooperation with the renowned University of Tokyo.

All activities are coordinated with the industry and representatives from the industry will also take part in the steering group.

“The opening of new far east markets is also a big chance for the smaller units here in Europe, which will never export one board to China,” said Jan Söderlind. “The potential demand in these new markets will take away a lot of pressure from the home markets, on which our local companies can then profit from better economical conditions”.