News  |  07.04.2023

ATIBT attends World of Wood Convention in Savannah, Georgia, USA

From March 29th to March 31st, ATIBT was represented at the annual World of Wood Convention, organized by the International Wood Product Association (IWPA) in Savannah, Georgia, USA. Representing our association, Nathalie Bouville led ATIBT's participation, assessing the potential for the development of ATIBT in the US and meeting with US importers to gauge their interest in joining our organization.

ATIBT attends World of Wood Convention in Savannah, Georgia, USA

Several of our members, including Interholco, Rougier, Precious Woods, Basso Legnami, Regalis, Woodbois, NHG, and Baillie Lumber from the US, also attended the Convention.

During the two and a half days of the Convention, IWPA covered various topics, including:

  • Current US trade laws and regulations, such as the implementation of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, Generalized Systems of Preferences (GSP), and the latest updates on the Lacey Act.
  • Impact on the new political landscape with a Republican Congress and a Democratic Senate. The mid-term elections have seen many changes in the legislatures, which is impacting the lobbying efforts of IWPA.
  • Trends in the US economy, marketplace, and wood product imports.
  • An update on the implementation of the Panama CoP19 new Timber Listings.
  • An update on the next phase of Formaldehyde.

Aside from the formal talks and conferences, the Convention also offered plenty of networking opportunities. A 5k run organized on Friday morning was a great way for participants to unwind and make up for the long hours spent indoors during the three days of the Convention. Business deals were also made at dinners and in the evenings in the many pubs and charming restaurants of the quaint and historical port city of Savannah.

During a panel dedicated to "overseas' perspectives," Nathalie had the opportunity to present our organization, detailing our main projects. She specifically presented the ASP Green Deal Cameroon Project, our CITES taskforce, and the work we do with Fair & Precious to promote the efforts of the certified operators of the Congo Basin.

The Malaysian Timber Commission and the Ghana Forestry Commission were also part of this panel. The audience showed a lot of interest in these topics. US importers also enquired about the new EUDR regulation as there are signs that the Biden administration is looking into mirroring the EUDR principles in a new bill called Forest Act (Fostering Overseas Rule of Law and Environmentally Sound Trade), which is part of the Climate Crisis Execute Action Plan.

Nathalie also participated in the CITES workshop. Importers in the US are particularly concerned and impacted by the newly listed species in Annex II and are eager to receive recommendations and support on how to continue importing those timber species. IWPA would like to join forces with ATIBT on the CITES subject, and there will be some follow-up meetings on this particular subject.

ATIBT had a double objective in attending the Convention. First, we want to expand our reach in the Americas. We have recently welcomed members from Latin America and are interested in attracting members from North America as well. North America is a destination of choice for sustainably managed, certified tropical timber, and we feel that as an international organization, it would be a natural evolution for us to broaden our geographical scope of activities. In addition, diversification of supply could increase interest in tropical timber among ATIBT forestry members

Second, we have an interest in partnering with IWPA. There are many obvious potential synergies between our organizations and collaborative opportunies to promote sustainable tropical timber worldwide.

With this, in-person participation, ATIBT was able to interact with many potential members and is hoping to see concrete results from this initiative in the weeks and months ahead.

Make sure to follow additional news on our progress in the US market!

Nathalie Bouville

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