Leading timber traders in the UK and the Netherlands are backing Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified plywood from the Indonesian company PT Tjipta Rimba Djaja (Tjipta).

Just a month ago the Tropical Forest Trust challenged the UK government and timber industry to re-examine their plywood purchasing practices after Tjipta revealed it could not find a buyer for its product as it was too expensive.

Now all of Tjipta’s FSC production has been sold according to Paul Romaine of CIPTA, Tjipta’s UK-based sales agent.

He said: “We’ve got significant orders from Lathams, Finnforest and Timbmet in the UK and from the companies of the Deli-Universal group in the Netherlands.

“It’s a great boost for Tjipta who have made significant investments over the past two years in response to the findings of the UK Timber Trade Federations’s scoping study. That these serious companies have bought into the process, despite being offered significantly cheaper prices elsewhere, gives us hope that long-term strategic investments can pay off.”

However, Mr Romaine is concerned that Tjipta, the only Asian company able to offer FSC certified plywood, is having to pay a 7% import duty, while the rate for Malaysia has been reduced from 7% to 3.5%.

He said: “We’re offering FSC-certified product and wonder why it’s attracting any import duty at all. It’s hard enough to compete in a market where most customers pay nothing for environmental quality without having to struggle against a tariff system that seems to take little account of broader EC policies on issues like the environment, social development and illegal logging.”