Six Gulf Cooperation Council member states imported US$1.7B-worth of timber products in first nine months of 2012, notes AHEC; US trade group to tap into rising demand for US hardwoods with showcase at Dubai WoodShow in April

BAHRAIN , March 4, 2013 () – AHEC's pavilion to showcase a wide range of lumber species

The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), the leading international trade association for the American hardwood industry, is participating in the eighth edition of the Dubai International Wood and Wood Machinery Show (Dubai WoodShow), which will be held from April 9 – 11, 2013 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. The event will see the participation of 19 US hardwood lumber and veneer exporters under the banner of the American Hardwood Pavilion. AHEC's participation at the show is aimed at promoting American hardwoods in the face of increasing demand for timber across the GCC and wider Middle East region.

According to the latest trade data available, it is estimated that imports of all timber products by the six GCC member states reached a total value of $1.7 billion during the first nine months of 2012, which represents an increase of around 16 per cent over the same period in the previous year. Furthermore, the leading suppliers of timber products were China, Malaysia, Romania, Germany, Indonesia and the US and shipments from these six nations accounted for around two thirds of all exports to the GCC. With a view to feeding this growing demand, AHEC has implemented an extensive outreach campaign that seeks to impart the benefits and advantages of the US hardwood resource whilst also highlighting its environmental credentials.

"We look forward to our participation at Dubai WoodShow 2013, which is a must attend event for the region's timber trade and woodworking sector. The timing could not have been any better given that demand for wood and wood based products is reaching new heights as construction projects gather pace across the GCC," said Roderick Wiles, AHEC director for Africa, Middle East, India and Oceania. "Growing interest in American hardwoods can widely be attributed to a better understanding of the physical properties of the different species and recognition of the concepts of improved performance in application, increased yield and reduced wastage in manufacturing and long term availability. Through our participation we hope to sustain this interest and create opportunities for increased trade between the woodworking industry in the region and the American hardwood industry for now and for many years
to come."

Occupying 216 sq m space, the AHEC pavilion will highlight the variety of American hardwood species while also throwing the spotlight on the benefits of the value-added processes undertaken to supply such a high quality and high yielding raw material. According to Wiles, the growing interest in American hardwoods has bolstered US hardwood exporters to become increasingly active in the wood and wood processing market in the MENA region. Wiles goes on to add that the GCC, and most particularly, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, have now become key destinations for many key timber supplying countries and feature among their top ten or even five export trade partners.

"Participating at key events like this or holding lumber grading workshops or design seminars has given us the opportunity to share the comparative benefits of US hardwoods – in particular the strong environmental credentials that they carry – with our intended audience of architects, interior designers, flooring, furniture and joinery manufacturers. Significantly, the construction sector in the GCC looks set to continue its recovery through this year from the downturn seen in 2009 and, as a result, it is widely anticipated that demand for wood products will continue to rise. We remain positive of a greater demand for American hardwoods this year and in the years to come," concluded Wiles.
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