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Der Brexit und die Holzwirtschaft 14.04.2017

EU-Flagge<br><span style='float:right; font-size:11px;font-weight:normal;'>© Pixabay CCO</span> EU-Flagge
© Pixabay CCO

Zu möglichen Folgen des Brexit für den Holzhandel zwischen Unternehmen aus EU-Staaten und Großbritannien hat der europäische Dachverband EOS (European Organisation of the Sawmill Industry) einen informativen Artikel veröffentlicht. Stuart Goodall, Geschäftsführer des EOS-Mitglieds Confor, vertritt dabei die Ansicht, dass der Bedarf an Holz in Großbritannien auch weiterhin von allgemeinen wirtschaftlichen Trend abhängt. Sprich: Wenn die Wirtschaft trotz Brexit weiter brummt, steigt der Holzbedarf – wenn sich die Gesamtlage verschlechtert, verkehrt sich die Entwicklung ins Gegenteil.

Ein möglicher Brexit-Einfluss auf den Umfang des Haus- und Wohnungsbaus hätte Auswirkungen auf die Holz-Nachfrage. Bereits in den letzten Jahren hat die britischen Regierung eine rege Bautätigkeit forciert, um der vorherrschenden Wohnungsknappheit Herr zu werden, ohne spezifisch auf Holz als Baustoff zu setzen. Goodall erwartet, dass der Holzbau in den nächsten Jahren zunehmen wird, vor allem aufgrund der damit verbundenen positiven CO2-Bilanz. Aktuell sind weniger als 25 Prozent der Gebäude im Vereinigten Königreich Holzrahmenhäuser, wobei Schottland mit 77 Prozent stark heraussticht. Mit steigendem Anteil im Bau stiege auch der Holzbedarf. Eine Einflussgröße für Holzimporte seien Währungsschwankungen, so Godall weiter. Ein niedriges oder gar weiter fallendes Britisches Pfund würde die Einfuhpreise, speziell für Weichholz, verteuern.

Kerstin Canby, Direktorin des „Forest Trade and Finance Program“ und Jade Saunders, Politische Analystin bei Forest Trend, erwarten von einem schwächeren Britischen Pfund in Verbindung mit einer landesweiten Rezession eine sinkende Nachfrage für alle Güter und Handelswaren. Es sei aber schwer vorherzusagen, inwiefern sich der Brexit konkret auf die Nachfrage nach Holzimporten auswirke. Unternehmen, die Holz nach Großbritannien exportieren, bekommen laut Canby und Saunders den Einfluss des schwächelnden Pfundes bereits zu spüren. Forest Trade erwartet nach dem britischen Austritt aus dem EU-Markt zudem eine geringere Einfuhr der Waren von Möbelherstellern aus EU-Staaten wie Polen oder Rumänien.

Englischer Originalartikel der EOS - European Organisation of the Sawmill Industry:

Article 50 has been triggered

On 29 March 2017, the British Prime Minister Theresa May started the official procedure for withdrawing from the European Union invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, starting what it is considered a “tortuous two-year divorce” littered with pitfalls for both sides. In addition, in accordance with the same Article 50(2) as applied by Article 106a of the Treaty Establishing the European Atomic Energy Community, Mrs May notified the European Council of the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the European Atomic Energy Community.

In the letter that the Prime Minister addressed to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, it was clearly stated that the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, but this decision was no rejection of the values shared with the Europeans.

Mrs May stated as well that the United Kingdom and the European Union should work towards securing a comprehensive partnership agreement. In particular, the British Prime Minister stressed the need for a bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union. “This should be of greater scope and ambition than any such agreement before it so that it covers sectors crucial to our linked economies such as financial services and network industries”.

What happens now.

The withdrawal agreement will be negotiated in accordance with Article 218 (3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and it must be completed within two years from the moment Article 50 is triggered. For this reason, on 29 April 2017, an extraordinary European Council will be convened in order to adopt by consensus a set of guidelines concerning the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. These guidelines will define the overall principles that the EU will pursue during the negotiations. After the adoption of the guidelines, the Commission will present to the Council its recommendation to open the negotiations. This will be agreed by the College of Commissioners, 4 days after the meeting of the European Council.

The Council will then need to authorise the start of the negotiations by adopting a set of negotiating directives adopted by strong qualified majority (20 Member States representing 65% of the population of the EU27). Once these directives are adopted, the Union negotiator, as designated by the Council, is mandated to begin negotiations with the United Kingdom. At the end of the negotiation period, the Union negotiator will present an agreement proposal to the Council and the European Parliament, taking into account the framework of the future relationship of the UK with the EU. The European Parliament must give its consent, by a vote of simple majority, including the British Members of the European Parliament. The Council will conclude the agreement, by a vote of strong qualified majority. The UK must also ratify the agreement according to its own constitutional arrangements.

The European Parliament

On 29 March, the Conference of Presidents of the EU Parliament endorsed a motion for a resolution drawn up by the leaders of four political groups and the Constitutional Affairs Committee, in which they set out their conditions for a final approval by the European Parliament of any withdrawal agreement with the United Kingdom.

The motion already highlights some key principles:

Continued obligations. The UK must continue to both enjoy all its rights and respect all its obligations under the EU Treaty until it leaves, including financial commitments under the current EU long-term budget, even if those go beyond the withdrawal date.

Sincere cooperation. It would be against EU law for the UK to begin negotiations on possible trade agreements with third countries before it has left the EU. 

No better status outside the EU than inside. The benefits of being a member of the EU cannot be the same for a country which leaves the EU. The future relationship between the EU and the UK could, however, be an association agreement.

Transitional arrangements. The talks can start on possible transitional arrangements based on plans for the future relationship between the EU and the UK, but only if and when good progress has been made towards the withdrawal agreement. A future relationship agreement can only be concluded once the UK has actually left the EU and a transitional arrangement may not last longer than three years.

Points of views on the economic consequences

Britain would face a “Pandora’s box of economic consequences. The UK would face tariffs on 90% of its EU exports by value and a raft of new regulatory hurdles. Let’s remember these barriers would hurt firms on both sides of the Channel” if UK crashed out of the European Union without a new trade deal in place, according to the President of the Confederation of British Industry.

Stuart Goodall, EOS Member Confor's Chief Executive considers that in the UK demand for timber is very much dependent on the general economic trends, so it is likely that this will continue: if economy will do well, UK timber demand is expected to grow. Instead, if Brexit affects the whole economy that will affect as well the demand for timber. In particular, if Brexit affected housebuilding it would affect timber demand.  Over the last few years, the British government has built as many buildings as possible to counter the housing shortage without focusing on the material.  It is expected that in the next few years building with wood will gain traction due to the advantages connected to a lower carbon footprint. At present, less than 25% of UK buildings are timber frame with big regional differences: in Scotland 77% of buildings are timber frame while in the UK only 16%. Though brick may be seen as culturally English there is hope that this will change. Increasing the market share built of timber could have a much bigger impact on UK timber demand. Currencies movements affect the price of imported goods: If Brexit kept sterling low or caused it to fall further, it could make it more expensive to import – particularly softwood. 

Kerstin Canby, Director of the Forest Trade and Finance program at Forest Trend and Jade Saunders Senior Policy Analyst at Forest Trends: “A weakened British Pound coupled with a UK-wide recession could reduce the demand for all goods, but it’s difficult to predict how Brexit will affect the demand specifically for wood imports. It is safe to say that the impacts of a devalued pound are already being felt by exporters of forest products to the UK.” Forest Trend estimates possible shifts in trends in relation to the furniture market. Once UK will leave the single market, it is likely to import less from EU furniture-manufacturing such as Poland and Romania – opening then the door for non-EU manufacturers. Nevertheless, prior any predictions, it should be noted that the UK aim of negotiating a free trade agreement with the EU — as well as a Customs Agreement.  Forest Trend does not foresee any Brexit impact on the capacity of forest owners and wood producers in the remaining EU27 to produce and export wood.

Quelle: EOS – European Organisation of the Sawmill Industry

Unter folgendem Link ist ergänzend der Leitlinienentwurf des Europäischen Rates (Art. 50), infolge der Benachrichtigung Großbritanniens (Art. 50 TEU), nachzulesen, den der Präsident des Europäischen Rates vorbereitet hat: http://www.eos-oes.eu/en/news.php?id=1194