No Delay: EUDR Sparks Furniture Crisis, 50% of Imports at Risk!

Will Europe run out of Balinese furniture? Global timber producers and manufacturers are scrambling to replace European markets with trade to be deferred through Asia and Africa.

Thu 11 Jul 24


More than half of Europe’s total imports of timber furniture (representing more than 1 billion tonnes of merchandise) are now at risk after the European Union vowed to push on with the EUDR “without delay.”

And with less than six months before the December 30 deadline, the block of ASEAN countries (which includes China, Vietnam and Indonesia) is already looking past Europe to find new markets to supply merchandise.

As it stands, timber furniture is one of the industries at greatest risk from EUDR, with environmental groups warning that imports from war-torn Ukraine (Europe’s third largest furniture market) are also “high risk” as per the EUDR’s terms and definitions.

It comes after Wood Central last week revealed that China—responsible for more than 40% of Europe’s total timber furniture market—is now threatening to leave European markets over “security concerns” with geolocational data.

China has joined the United States in pushing back against key parts of the EUDR. (Photo Credit: Image ID:2M4TTFX via Alamy Stock Images)
China is now pushing back against key parts of the EUDR. (Photo Credit: Image ID:2M4TTFX via Alamy Stock Images)

In September, Indonesia, also one of Europe’s top 5 sources of timber furniture, raised “multiple concerns” with the new legislation in an open letter to the European Commission.

The letter, cosigned by Malasyia, alleged that “the legislation disregarded local circumstances and capabilities, national legislation and certification mechanisms of developing producer countries, (as well as) their efforts to fight deforestation and multilateral commitments, including the principle of common but differentiated principles.”

Singapore, Hong Kong, India and Egpyt make up the EU shortfall?

“We previously exported our furniture to [countries in] Europe such as Germany, but not anymore because of more regulation,” according to Esther Cecilia, a marketing representative for a furniture and wooden handicraft goods maker based in central Java. “Now, we focus on [the] Asian markets such as Hong Kong and Singapore because, for example, Singapore has less strict regulations than those in Europe,” she said.

Last year, Indonesian Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan claimed the regulation was “very discriminatory” and called on the Netherlands, Indonesia’s largest EU trading partner, to support the country in opposing the EUDR.

“We will fight back, negotiate, fight.”

At the same time, Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, who has a background in the furniture business, and Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim pledged to oppose the EUDR, claiming it hurts smallholders.

According to Abdul Sobur, Chair of the HIMKI, Indonesia’s peak body for furniture, the industry is now targeting emerging markets or markets beyond traditional ones, such as Europe and the US.

shutterstock 4208161 fotor 2024071122636
European furniture merchants may no longer be able to sell Balinese timber furniture in the European Union if the EUDR is approved without major revision. (Photo Credit: Stock Photo ID: 4208161)

“One of these market niches is India, with rapid growth,” he said, adding that “India will continue to grow exponentially over the next decade along with the expansion of infrastructure and connecting large cities as well as various government programs that encourage the construction of new residential areas and the increasing number of office areas.”

In addition, the association also targets African markets, especially Egypt, which it claims “has potential,” and ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which, thanks to the ASEAN Free Trade Area, is aiming to reduce internal tariffs to expand trade across the region.

Why is furniture an Achilles heel for Europe?

In April, Wood Central reported that Italy was Europe’s ground-zero Mynamr teak and other controversial forest products. Between January and October 2023, Italian companies imported more Myanmar products than any other EU country used in furniture and construction, according to Italian government data analysed by the FederlegnoArredo – Italy’s national timber trade association.

On Monday, the UK-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) reported that teak imports from India to the EU had surged 15-fold, with Indian traders failing to declare if the timber had come from Myanmar, which is currently sanctioned by the EU and the US.

As per the most recent data obtained by Eurostat, the EU’s statistics bureau, more than 77,000 tonnes of furniture imported by the EU (for April) came from China, followed by Ukraine – 22,200 tonnes, Turkey – 17,000 tonnes, Vietnam – 11,600 tonnes and Indonesia – 8,100 tonnes.

European Unions imports of wood furniture by supplying countries in April 2024
How the EUDR will work
  • The regulation will assign regions within countries inside and outside the EU a low, standard, or high-risk level associated with deforestation and forest degradation.
  • This risk classification will guide the obligations of various operators and the authorities in member states to perform inspections and controls. Consequently, this will streamline monitoring for high-risk regions and simplify due diligence processes for low-risk regions.
  • Authorities responsible for these areas must inspect 9% of operators and traders dealing with products from high-risk regions, 3% from standard-risk areas, and 1% from low-risk regions. This inspection aims to confirm whether they are effectively meeting the obligations stipulated by the regulation.
  • Further, these competent authorities will inspect 9% of relevant goods and products either placed on their market, made available, or exported by high-risk regions.
  • Lastly, the EU plans to enhance its cooperation with partner countries, focusing primarily on high-risk areas.

For more information, visit Wood Central’s special feature on EUDR and its implications for the global supply chain of forest products from July 2023.


  • Jason Ross

    Jason Ross, publisher, is a 15-year professional in building and construction, connecting with more than 400 specifiers. A Gottstein Fellowship recipient, he is passionate about growing the market for wood-based information. Jason is Wood Central's in-house emcee and is available for corporate host and MC services.


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