In 2001, the launch of the five-year Wood Europe campaign continued this initiative, promoting wood use in the EU and export of wood products, he continued. In 2005, the minister said the newly-elected government established a wood industrial programme to promote the use of wood in various markets in all sectors, while the construction development programme aimed to increase the use of wood in domestic construction and in bold new construction and renovation works. Both are to run until 2010. The minister then showed a clear understanding of the importance of wood in the environmental debate and the need to promote this positive news. For the future of wood in Finland, the minister said that the Finnish government is committed to making this sector attractive to young people as a high technology sector. He said that it is a challenge to put this message across to everybody and that this needs the effort of the international wood associations and organisations. "Europe has very sparse natural resources but the forests are growing faster than the harvest so there is under-utilisation of the resource – this is an important challenge for Europe," concluded the minister. Ladislaus Döry returned to the podium to present the EPF’s comprehensive annual report for 2005-6. Picking out some of the highlights, he said that his federation has members in 23 European countries, with the newest being Estonia and Poland, and 50 associated members as well as a scientific network with around 40 collaborating technical institutes.
Particleboard production among EPF countries totalled more than 35 million m3 in 2005, while MDF achieved almost 13 million m3 and OSB around 3.1 million m3, he said. The value of wood based panels output in 2005 in the EU-25 was over e19bn – about 9% of the total for the European woodworking industry (e226bn). "In 2005, the European manufacturers of all wood based panels produced some 60.5 million m3," said Mr Döry. "Particleboard accounts for 63% of the total production. MDF has been gradually expanding its market share over the past few years but is stabilising now at a share of 22%. The production of OSB grew very fast in the last decades but its growth has decelerated somewhat. It represents 5% of the wood based panel market." Wet process fibreboards were stable at 4% of total production, while plywood represented 6%. President of the FEIC, Uldis Bikis from Latvia, then presented his federation’s annual report. The FEIC has members in 21 countries and 75 producing companies. Recent additions as full members have included Estonia, Lithuania and Romania, as well as another Russian producer. "These memberships have added further significant importance to the representation of the FEIC and strengthens the structure of our federation within an enlarged European Union," said the president. Production of the members in 2005 amounted to 3.9 million m3 of plywood (3.5% up on 2004) and 0.3 million m3 of blockboard (+11.4%). Meanwhile, plywood consumption in FEIC countries increased by 4.5% over 2004, while in the EU-25, the figure was a 0.7% decrease.
"Over the past 10 years, plywood production has been increasing along the lines of an average annual growth rate of 4%," said Mr Bikis. "The strong performance of the Russian FEIC members, as well as Sweden and Ukraine, boosted the result." Of the plywood produced by the FEIC members, 34% was coniferous, 10% tropical and 54% broadleaved (‘other’ 2%). "The most aggressive competitor [in plywood markets], which has been disturbing the European markets in an increasing manner for the past four years, is China," said Mr Bikis, who went on to say that the FEIC’s complaint, lodged in 2003 and resulting in a 66.7% anti-dumping duty being levied by the EC, caused imports of Chinese okoumé plywood to fall sharply. However, he said that other imports of tropical and broadleaved plywood soared. He said the FEIC is continuing to monitor this situation. For further information on EPF or FEIC, contact the joint secretariat at: