Accra, May 19, GNA - Members of the UK-based Timber Trade Federation (TTF) this week organised a road show to inform Ghanaian timber businesses about the latest trends affecting the import of timber into European markets.
A statement from the British High Commission said a growing number of EU member states were putting in place government procurement policies that required "verified legal timber" as a minimum standard for any timber procured. It said in pursuit of its objective to ensure the forest sector's contribution to national economic development was sustainable, the government of Ghana had entered into discussions on a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the EU.
The VPA would seek to ensure that in addition to that procured by EU governments, all other timber exported from Ghana into the EU is "legal". For timber to be classified as "legal", it would have to be harvested in accordance with Ghanaian law and Ghana stands to benefit from this market shift.
In 2004, Ghana earned over 170 million Euro from the export of wood products, almost 60 per cent of which came from trade with countries in the EU.
The statement said Ghana had the opportunity to keep hold of this substantial market share, and potentially to increase it, if it was able to respond to growing demands for legal timber. "Should Ghana decide to enter into this VPA, the UK and other EU member states with representation in Ghana could play a significant role in the promotion of Ghanaian wood products to existing and potential European buyers," the statement said. 19 May 05