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News release

Timber trade applauds action on market issues

Yokohama, Japan, 5 November 2001

The tropical timber trade has praised the International Tropical Timber Council for its response to concerns that it should do more to promote the image of tropical timber.

At its most recent session, which ended on Saturday, the Council financed a study to increase transparency in the tropical hardwood plywood trade and to analyze the causes of market fluctuations and price instability. Since the Asian economic financial crisis, tropical plywood has been trading at around 60% of pre-crisis price levels in most markets, especially Japan. Such low prices have led to high levels of unemployment in the plywood manufacturing sectors of many producing countries. The crisis will also be addressed by a second ITTO activity, which will plan a major tropical hardwood promotional campaign to build a stronger market share for tropical hardwoods in world markets.

Mr Barney Chan, coordinator of the ITTO Trade Advisory Group and General Manager of the Sarawak Timber Association, applauded the two initiatives.

"This is what the trade wants to see - quick action by ITTO to issues raised by the trade", he said.

Some Council members hailed the recently concluded Council session as 'historic'. In addition to the new trade initiatives, landmark decisions were reached on forest law enforcement and combating illegal trade, and on the auditing of sustainable forest management.

For more information contact: Dr. Mike Adams, ITTO Secretariat; itto@itto.or.jp