14th Wood-Technology Conference Confirmed: Wood-Processing Industry One of the Most Promising Economic Branches!

2017-06-14
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The 14th Wood Technology Conference, traditional annual gathering of wood-processing industry in Croatia and the southeast Europe, which was held on Monday and Tuesday in Opatija (Croatia) in organization of the Croatian Wood Cluster and CROBIOM, is successfully closed.  

Excellent export results, continuous development of new products, as well as the successful participation in different national and the EU funding schemes over the past 15 years and this meeting's tradition, ensured presence of over 350 industry representatives and a number of important political and institutional stakeholders. This year the Conference was held under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Croatia, the Croatian Parliament, the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds, the Ministry of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts, the Ministry of Construction and Physical Planning and the Rector of the University of Zagreb, while the Ministry of Agriculture was a co-organizer. Domagoj Hajduković, Vice President of the Agriculture Committee of the Croatian Parliament, also addressed participants at the conference opening.

Minister of Agriculture, Mr Tomislav Tolušić, said that the wood industry is one of the most promising economic branches, but that Croatia is not known for furniture production but manly as a country of quality and cheap raw materials, which should be changed in future. The minister announced that the export of oak logs was prohibited from July 3rd for the following two years. 

After years of poor communication, in Opatija came whole Croatian Forests Management Board, led by Mr Krunoslav Jakupčić, CEO, who said that it is his personal and Croatian Forests mission to contribute that wood and forest become a key competitive weapon in market competition.

Employment opportunities in the forest based industries sector through active employment policy measures were presented on Monday by Labor and Pension System Minister Mr Tomislav Ćorić. The minister stressed the importance of the wood-processing industry for employment and the economic and demographic survival of rural areas. If we enable jobs and quality life conditions, we will stop emigration, Minister Ćorić concluded and announced the change of the pension system and the extension of working life up to 67 years.

The second conference day was marked by themes of networking, European projects and new technologies in wood processing. A series of technology producers for sawmills, primary and final wood-processing, production of energy from wood and forest fire prevention presented innovative solutions and demonstrated that this sector is equally involved in the 4th Industrial Revolution through digitization and automation of production processes.

It is inevitable to work on greater export and the positioning on international markets, said Joško Klisović, Parliamentary Representative, on Tuesday in the concluding panel discussion, and invited companies to more actively use the services of economic diplomacy and Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. Good insight into the exporting markets is a key to success, Klisović concluded. Branding and participation in international fairs are most important tools in marketing. 

Although wood-processing sector is quite active when it comes to mobilization of incentives, investments in R&D are still the least represented, which is certainly to be improved in the future. On the sidelines of the conference, Croatian Wood Cluster is also actively included in the FORESDA project consortium meeting (under INTERREG) together with other international experts in innovation, biomass and regional development.

Over 350 business representatives - window, door, pellet and parquet producers, technology suppliers, sawmills and competent institutions - participated in the conference during two days.