EU FLEGT Trade Dashboard
The IMM dashboard provides access to statistical data on global and EU trade with the 15 countries either supplying FLEGT licensed timber or that are implementing or negotiating a FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the EU in December 2019. To facilitate market analysis, data is also provided on other countries which are leading suppliers of tropical timber into the global and EU market.
The dashboard has been developed by the FLEGT Independent Market Monitor (IMM). The IMM’s role is to use trade flow analysis and market research to independently assess trade and market impacts of FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) in the EU and partner countries.
The data is derived from the Sustainable Timber Information Exchange (STIX) being developed by the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) through the IMM project in association with the Global Timber Forum (GTF). Technical details on data sources and validation routines are available on the STIX website.
Components & Scope
The dashboard comprises two components:
Monitoring Board which visualises the current status of timber supplying countries in the VPA process and the position of VPA partner countries in global and EU tropical timber trade;
Market Trends which provides full, free and flexible access to comprehensive data and visualisations on timber exports from VPA partner countries and EU timber product imports.
Trade data is updated every month to allow trade monitoring as close to real time as possible.
The trade data covers all products listed in chapters 44 (wood), 47 (pulp), 48 (paper), and wood-based furniture in chapter 94 of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS).
For EU trade data, the dashboard covers all 28 countries that were members of the EU in December 2019.
As most VPA Partner countries do not yet publish monthly data on export trade, ‘mirror data’ is used drawing on the import flows of major trading partners that report more regularly. The STIX database currently holds data for 46 reporting countries, including most of the world’s largest economies and timber trading nations which together account for over 90% of global wood products trade.
Using relevant selectors, the product scope of EU trade data shown on the dashboard can be restricted to only those products regulated through the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR). EU operators that place EUTR-regulated products on the EU market are required to implement a due diligence system to ensure a negligible risk of illegal harvest. FLEGT licensed products are recognised as legally harvested under EUTR and therefore excluded from the due diligence requirement.
All data can be downloaded in a wide variety of formats and all charts are dynamic. Areas can be selected with a mouse for expansion and data values will be shown on hover. Images of selected data can be downloaded as .png files.
Explore data by VPA Partner
Select VPA Partner
Explore data by non-VPA country
Select non-VPA country
Explore data by EU member
Select EU member
Explore data by product group
FLEGT IMM dashboard technical details
FLEGT IMM data compilation and validation
IMM sources EU import data from the COMEXT bulk download facility.
The COMEXT data harvesting and validation system used to generate the data for the 1st edition of the dashboard was developed internally by the IMM and draws from many years analysis of COMEXT data which indicates that:
- Reporting of value is more consistent than reporting of tonnage which in turn is more consistent than reporting of volumes (i.e. cubic meters, square meters etc).
- “Consistency” in this context implies that data tends to fall within reasonable upper and lower bounds and not to vary erratically and in ways that are not readily explained by other sources of market information.
- Tonnage data for most products varies in consistent and predictable ways with the volumetric data. This is to be expected as products within the same product group should have similar density (i.e. mass per unit of volume).
- Euro values per unit of tonnage tend to be quite tightly clustered for products at the CN 8-digit level across the whole of the EU so that outliers can be readily identified.
The starting assumption of the validation procedure is that all value data published by COMEXT is accurate and should not be changed. Changes are only made where necessary to tonnage data and volumetric data where this falls outside “reasonable” boundaries identified by comparing price per tonnage and tonnage per volumetric unit.
Boundaries are set for each product group at CN 8-digit level through statistical analysis of all data across the EU in the decade 2007 to 2016. EU-wide data is used to identify boundaries with no attempt to refine these boundaries for individual EU member states or separately for import and export flows.
Boundaries are defined from statistical analysis of EU wide data from 2007 to 2016 as follows:
- the 5% and 95% quantile set the boundaries for euro value per tonne.
- the 25% and 75% quantile set the boundaries for tonne per volumetric unit.
The use of narrower boundaries for weight per volumetric unit is justified because this relationship is physical (i.e. it refers to density) which should not vary significantly within a product group. However, there is no physical relationship between price and tonnage – a product with very low mass can be very expensive and vice-versa – and therefore the boundaries for excluding outliers should be wider.
Each month the algorithm is used to check the data for each individual trade flow (defined by a unique combination of product group at CN 8-digit level, import or export flow, EU reporting country, and partner country). The algorithm is applied to all flows for products in CN chapters 44, 45, 47, and 48, and wood-based furniture in chapter 94. Typically, around 50,000 import flows and 85,000 export flows need to be validated each month.
The process begins by checking for each individual flow whether euro value per tonne is within the defined bounds. If data is outside the bounds, tonnage is amended so that the unit price is equal to the closest upper or lower boundary. If value data is present but tonnage data absent, tonnage is set to the EU-wide median value of all data for the specific product during the 2007-2016 period.
Once the tonnage data has been checked, the algorithm checks the volumetric unit (which may be m3, m2 etc depending on the product group) to assess whether it lies within boundaries defined by the tonnage (i.e. it has “reasonable” density). Again outliers, where they exist, are corrected to the boundary rather than to the median density for the product group, to reduce the size of the amendment. Supplementary unit data is only estimated from median density where COMEXT data is entirely absent.
The combined effect of using wide boundaries for value per tonne and amending outliers in tonnage data to the closest boundary value rather than to median value, is that changes to the raw tonnage data contained in the COMEXT data are quite rare and conservative.
In contrast, the narrower boundaries allowed for tonnes per volumetric unit mean that changes to the Comext volumetric data are quite frequent and often large. However, the system ensures that there is always a close link between the amended volumetric unit data and the more accurate and physically related tonnage data.
All volumetric data presented in the dashboard is converted to roundwood equivalent RWE volume in cubic meters to ensure consistent reporting between product groups. For details of RWE conversion factors used by IMM (download excel file 53.5 KB)
Phased introduction of new data cleaning algorithm
While the COMEXT data harvesting and cleaning procedures developed internally by IMM are reasonably robust, there are weaknesses. For example, due to heavy reliance on time-consuming manual procedures to calculate price per tonnage boundaries these are not regularly adjusted. The system would also benefit from more extensive peer review. For this reason, IMM aims to transfer to a new more automated and publicly accessible data validation system which, amongst other improvements will allow for more frequent calculation of boundaries to reflect the latest available data.
The dashboard has been developed using freely available programming tools including: