Switzerland: Parliamentary initiative calls for guide prices for raw wood

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On June 17th, Daniel Fässler, President of WaldSchweiz, submitted a parliamentary initiative entitled “Price recommendations for wood from Swiss forests”. It demands that guide prices can be agreed for the raw wood harvested in Swiss forests, as has been the case for agricultural products since 2004.

Supply bottlenecks and price increases for wood products are currently on everyone's lips. However, the internationally clocked price signal has so far hardly reached the primary production and thus the forest owner, where a better yield situation is urgently needed: When analyzing the raw wood prices of the past 40 years, a nominal price decline of around 55% can be found, while wage costs by 60% have risen.

From the point of view of the forest owners, there is therefore no avoiding significant price increases, especially for raw wood (logs, industrial wood, energy wood). "The forest industry is willing to provide the valuable raw material wood," emphasizes Fässler. “But not if she incurs losses in the process. That is why the primary producer forest must be strengthened. And target prices at national or regional level are an important instrument for this. ”The Forest Act is to be supplemented accordingly.

A Swiss timber market commission existed until 2020. This saw itself as an informal forum at which the development of the timber market as well as technical questions and general framework conditions were discussed. Permanent participants in the commission included WaldSchweiz and Holzindustrie Schweiz. The Wood Market Commission was headed by the Federal Office for the Environment FOEN until 2010, after which it took part in the meetings as an observer. The commission regularly published price recommendations for round timber from Swiss forests, differentiated according to tree species and assortments.

The timber market commission was dissolved in 2020 after WaldSchweiz and the timber industry in Switzerland received a request for information from the competition commission WEKO as part of a market observation. Since then, WaldSchweiz has only published historical prices. The raw wood prices of the agristat (Swiss Farmers' Association) for standard ranges of spruce and fir are published every two months.

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