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Timber Supplies (European Countries)

Volume 437: debated on Tuesday 20 May 1947

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72.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what are the prospects of increased timber supplies for this country arising from the recent Inter- national Timber Conference in Czechoslovakia; and whether he will make a statement on the world timber position as revealed at this conference.

I must apologise for the length of this answer, This Conference examined both the short term and the longer term situation of the countries of the European area. It confirmed the very substantial gap between the import requirements of these countries and the supplies which are available for them whether from within Europe or from overseas, and that a deficiency is likely in present conditions to continue over a number of years. With particular regard to the short term, the Conference made recommendations designed to strengthen the hands of the Economic Commission for Europe in securing the increase of supplies and their satisfactory distribution. In particular it recommended that countries which are able should increase their production of sawn softwood by 10 per cent. during the next two years, recognising that outside assistance might be necessary to enable this to be achieved in some cases. Measures were also examined for restoring and improving the forest resources of Europe after the devastation of the war period. I trust that as a result of the Conference the supplies of timber available to Europe will be increased and this country will, of course, share in the improvement.