EU operators and competent authorities

How can EU Competent Authorities access information on the Indonesian FLEGT licences they receive?

EU Competent Authorities can access the SILK database managed by the Licence Information Unit (LIU) in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and can validate any information in the licence. If specific questions arise, the Competent Authorities can contact the LIU in Indonesia directly. Competent Authorities need to sign a memorandum of understanding with the LIU. The SILK database’s list of licensing authorities is online here: https://silk.dephut.go.id/index.php/info/vlegal

How can an EU operator be sure a FLEGT licence is genuine? Will Indonesia check to ensure that its FLEGT licences are genuine? Could a licence be counterfeit?

It would be difficult to counterfeit a FLEGT licence, as a valid FLEGT licence can only be issued using the Sistem Informasi Legalitas Kayu (SILK) online system operated by Indonesia’s Licence Information Unit (LIU). The system generates a unique, secure barcode for each licence, and stores information about each licence in its database. SILK is a secure online system of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. It connects in real time directly with the secure INATRADE online system of the Ministry of Trade, and with the National Single Window Customs system of the Ministry of Finance. 

All licences are recorded in this system. Indonesian customs officials and EU Competent Authorities have direct access to the SILK system, so they can check that a licence is valid and not a counterfeit. To be valid, all the information in the FLEGT licence must match the information recorded in the SILK system. Once an EU competent authority confirms it has received a FLEGT-licensed consignment, SILK will automatically update the FLEGT licence’s record, ensuring that the same licence cannot be recorded again.

The requirements and technical specifications of the FLEGT licence are described in Annex IV of the Indonesia-EU Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA). See: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:22014A0520%2802%29&from=EN

The Indonesian timber legality assurance system and the VPA also include powerful safeguards such as an independent audit (called periodic evaluation), which aims to detect any systemic failures and report them to the VPA joint implementation committee (JIC). In Indonesia civil society also plays a crucial role in carrying out independent observation (independent monitoring) and informing organisations and decision makers about potential individual frauds and system loopholes.

I want to import products that originate in Indonesia, but are first exported from Indonesia to a non-EU country where they are processed and re-exported to the EU. I understand that products covered by the VPA cannot be imported to the EU without a FLEGT licence, but also that products exported from Indonesia to non-EU markets will not carry a FLEGT licence. Can I still import such products and place them on the EU market?

If a shipment from Indonesia is first exported to a non-EU country it will be accompanied by a V-Legal Document not a FLEGT licence. It will then need to be exported from that non-EU country to the EU. Hence, the non-EU country will become the new country of dispatch and not Indonesia. This means that the VPA does not apply, as that only covers products where the country of dispatch is Indonesia. Hence, the operator in the EU can import the product without a FLEGT licence, but is of course still obliged to conduct its due diligence as required by the EU Timber Regulation.

If my company buys from a European supplier who has already imported Indonesian wood products into the EU will we be under any obligation to provide documentation for those products? 

In this scenario, your company is a ‘trader’ as defined by the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR). To meet the requirements of the EUTR, as a ‘trader’ you would need to keep records, regardless of whether the products came from Indonesia (with or without FLEGT licensing) or any other country.