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WhatWood Interview Jean-Francois Guilbert, Managing Director of FrenchTimber: "Sawn timber prices have been stable for 20 years so they're catching up now"

Jean-Francois Guilbert, Managing Director of FrenchTimber: “Sawn timber prices have been stable for 20 years so they’re catching up now”

1 April 2022 ` 16:45  

FrenchTimber, an association founded in 2001 by the National Timber Federation (Fédération Nationale du Bois, FNB). The association is developing the French export of sawn timber and French processed wood products: it helps its members ship their products abroad and provides regular and reliable information on various key markets. WhatWood Agency talked to Jean-François Guilbert, Managing Director at FrenchTimber, about the association’s activity, specific features of the French sawn timber market, current trends in the French sawmilling industry, government support, and much more. 

The interview was taken before February 24, 2022.

FrenchTimber was founded by the National Timber Federation (Fédération Nationale du Bois). Does this mean you are a government entity? Who are the members of your association?

FrenchTimber is a private organization financed by the industry. Our board includes forest owners (private and public), industry representatives and private companies from the sawmill sectors. The main representatives all have operational position in the industry.

What are FrenchTimber’s goals and objectives for 2022? In the future 5 years?

We aim to develop exports of processed lumber and added value products and to bring more companies on export markets, particularly smaller companies who have not exported yet or are not comfortable with the necessities of developing trade relations abroad.

One of our goals is also to find new attractive markets for our companies and help them to diversify their customer base so they enjoy better margin and are less dependent on a single market.

Within the next five years, we will also represent others stakeholders of the industry such as the flooring industry and producers of building solution products such as CLT.

What a procedure to become a member of the FrenchTimber? What benefits your members can receive when entering?

The process is very simple, the only prerequisite is that all companies must be affiliated to the French sawmill Federation (FNB). We only ask for a small financial contribution and that the company agrees to our code of conduct. They should also contribute to the industry financing system which is being used for research and communication.

Each new member will benefit from our market informations, regular statistics updates, better market exposure though our web site, receive requests from international customers that we transfer to our members, and he will be able to take part to international trade shows on one of our French pavilions.

Also, one of the big advantages of being part of an association is all the informal information and exchange of knowledge that members exchange between them, sometimes it can be useful to work as a team!

Does the French Government support the FrenchTimber?

All our subsidies come from our members and professional association, we are a private organization. Recently, we have been benefiting from a government program put in place during the covid crisis to try to help French companies to develop their markets abroad.

So, it’s good news for our members because they can get a financial contribution from this agency called Business France when they take part in an event organized by a certified party like FrenchTimber. Unfortunately, this measure is only temporary and should last only until the end of the 2022.

Read more: Russian Timber Journal 02-2022.

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