Moving forward with harmonisation
There is a lot of talk of harmonisation not only with government procurement policies but it is also an agenda of European Trade Federations. This process from all avenues is considered important to ensure markets are sending the same messages down the supply chain to the end producers and suppliers. In an international trade environment conflicting messages and different requirements are considered, by many, as confusing.
Defra and CPET recently met with Dutch and Danish colleagues in the The Hague to discuss a way forward for the harmonisation of procurement policies. It was agreed that it would be valuable to produce a technical comparison of the 3 policies; as a first step. This will be presented in a common framework identifying differences where they exist. The goal will be to explore harmonised language on those standards deemed to be the same. The common framework document is intended to be shared with other Member States of the EU to provide a suggested basis for their own policies. For those that already have policies, it will provide a basis for comparison and discussions with other Member States are already being planned.
Joan Ruddock, Minister of State for Defra, recently delivered a presentation on the UK timber policy at the Biodiversity and Business Conference held in Lisbon. She held positive discussions with both with Portuguese and Spanish counterparts on the possibility of them adopting timber procurement policies.
Additionally Raich attended a meeting of UCBD (European Hardwood Federation) in Brussels; their mission is to consider harmonisation of responsible purchasing policies and codes of conduct.