The EU’s imports were down 4% on 2012, to 939,000m3, according to the latest International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) report. However, China’s market share declined only slightly, from 45.2% in 2012 to 43.4% in 2013, and it maintained its position as the largest single supplier, suggesting that the EUTR was not a deterrent.

"There was speculation that the EUTR might reduce China’s market share because of the difficulty of obtaining reliable legality documentation in China where supply chains tend to be complex," the ITTO said. "But while the EUTR has encouraged European importers to buy from a narrower range of manufacturers in China, it seems these companies have been able to satisfy EU demands for legality assurance."

This has included switching from face veneers from countries perceived to be high risk to FSC-certified veneers or dyed reconstituted fineline veneers of Chinese poplar.

During 2013 imports of Chinese hardwood plywood fell by 6.5% in the UK; 5% in Belgium; 4% in Germany; and 30% in the Netherlands but this was offset by a rise of 9% in France and 46% in Bulgaria and Romania.