The Timber Trade Federation (TTF) and Wood NI, a marketing-led representative body for Northern Ireland’s timber industry, are to join forces to further “represent the national trade as one”.

The two-year agreement will see the trade associations work closely to “see what we can achieve formally together”, said TTF chief executive John White.

Wood NI was formed three years ago when 10 importer companies split from the TTF’s Northern Ireland Timber Trade Association. It now represents 22 companies, including Haldane Fisher, Brooks Group (UK) Ltd, IJK Timber Group Ltd, Vandecasteele Houtimport and UPM-Kymmene (UK) Ltd.

Mr White said the accord would provide some useful tools for both organisations, as well as potential lessons for the national government. He described Wood NI as a good model for how regional bodies operating in areas with a strong devolved government can forge important links with decision makers.

He added the Scottish Timber Trade Association is doing a similar job with the Scottish parliament.

“We’ll be able to help with Wood NI’s work at Westminster level, such as the issue of credit insurance, and learn from its engagement with the Northern Ireland Assembly,” he said.

“And there may be lessons the national government can learn about the implementation of its procurement policy, where Wood NI has had meetings with the Central Point of Expertise on Timber to see how it will work through the assembly.”

All Wood NI members not currently signed up to the TTF are to be given provisional membership to the trade body, which will be re-evaluated at the same time the agreement is revisited in two years.