Yokohama, Japan, 8 November 2022: Markets for forest carbon are growing fast and have huge potential, but low carbon prices and other challenges are restraining their capacity to benefit tropical forests and their stakeholders. This was a key message emerging from the Annual Market Discussion, which was held today as part of the 58th session of the International Tropical Timber Council.
The Annual Market Discussion is traditionally convened as part of a joint session of the Council’s committees as a means for informing Council members of key trends and issues in the tropical timber trade and increasing understanding among governments, traders and other stakeholders. This year’s Discussion featured five speakers as well as interventions from the floor on the theme of the carbon trade and tropical forests. It was chaired by Trade Advisory Group (TAG) co-coordinator Mr Barney Chan.
A full account of the 2022 Annual Market Discussion is available here.
Statement by the Trade Advisory Group
TAG co-coordinator Mr Bob Tate presented a statement on behalf of the TAG immediately following the Annual Market Discussion. The Trade Advisory Group was established in 2000 to provide inputs to ITTO’s policy and project work. It is open to anyone with an interest in the tropical timber trade, including representatives of tropical forest industries, timber exporters and importers, timber trade and industry consultants, and trade and industry associations.
In the statement, the TAG expressed concern about a draft law on deforestation under consideration by the European Council and Parliament and the risk that it could present barriers to trade, particularly for tropical countries. Tate noted that the TAG believes that “the EU [European Union] should avoid using these [draft] new regulations to curb free and fair trade, and improve on its communication with the stakeholders, including from outside of the EU, to assess the challenges faced by businesses towards compliance”.
The TAG statement also asserted that the rate of establishment of industrial tree plantations in the tropics is being hampered by a lack of reliable information. TAG called on ITTO to undertake a survey of existing tree plantations in ITTO producer member countries and to design a database on plantations to assist commercial decision-making on plantation establishment.
The statement noted that ITTO producer countries are yet to benefit significantly from voluntary forest carbon offset markets.
“There is a desperate need to disseminate information and guidance on the opportunities to producing members, and at the same time provide strategic advice and technical assistance,” according to the statement. TAG urged ITTO to organize a technical training workshop “to address the weaknesses and shortcomings of members so they can participate in climate-change mitigation while adding to their national revenue”.
The full TAG statement is available here.