FLEGT-licensed timber products
Are FLEGT-licensed products available in the EU?
Indonesia started issuing FLEGT licences on 15 November 2016. Thus, all shipments of timber products listed in the amended annex I of the VPA, and exported from Indonesia to the EU, must be FLEGT-licensed. For more information on Indonesian FLEGT licences, click here. For more information on other countries that are working towards FLEGT licensing click here.
What timber products do FLEGT licences cover?
FLEGT licences cover timber products exported to the EU and listed in the annex on product scope of a Voluntary Partnership Agreement between the EU and a partner country outside the EU. Logs, sawn timber, plywood, veneer and railroad sleepers are the minimum products that are covered in all VPAs. In addition, VPA countries have included many other products in the scope of their VPAs, such as fuel wood, packing cases, builders' joinery and carpentry of wood, pulp and paper, and furniture. Some VPA product scopes are exceeding the product categories for which the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) requires due diligence. Some VPAs also list products that cannot be exported from the VPA country and so can never be FLEGT-licensed.
You can check the products covered by the EUTR here: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32010R0995
You can download concluded VPAs and consult their annexes on product scope here: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/forests/flegt.htm
Please note that the product scope of Indonesia’s VPA changed after the EU and Indonesia ratified the VPA. The revised annex on product scope is here: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32015D1158
What happens if the timber products I want to buy and place on the EU market are not covered by a FLEGT licence?
If the products you want to place on the EU market are from a VPA partner country that is issuing FLEGT licences, and if these products are listed in the product scope of the VPA but are not covered accompanied by a FLEGT licence, then you are not allowed to import place these products on the market.
If the products you want to place on the EU market are outside the product scope of the VPA, or if they come from a VPA country that has not yet started FLEGT licensing, or they come from a non-VPA country, they can enter the EU market, but you will need to exercise due diligence as required by the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) if those products are covered by the EUTR.
Operators — defined as any natural or legal person that places timber or timber products on the EU market— must exercise due diligence when placing for the first time on the EU market timber and timber products covered by the EUTR. The EUTR prohibits the placing on the EU market of illegally harvested timber or timber products derived from such timber.
How will a consumer recognise a FLEGT-licensed timber product?
FLEGT-licensed timber products are not distinguished by a brand, logo or label that customers can recognise. This is because FLEGT licences are documents issued for each export consignment. They are not customer certificates. Once a country begins FLEGT licensing, the EU will only accept FLEGT-licensed imports from that country, for the product types falling within the scope of that country’s FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the EU. Therefore, there is no need for a consumer certificate or logo. However, it is possible for consumers to ask for products that come from partner countries that issue FLEGT licences. In this way consumers can contribute to the efforts aiming at combating illegal logging and promoting sustainable management of forests.
Does FLEGT-licensed timber lose its FLEGT licence if processed in another country? For example, if FLEGT-licensed timber from Indonesia is exported to China, where it is processed into tables and re-exported to the EU, would the tables still be FLEGT-licensed?
If the ‘processing country’ does not also issue FLEGT licences, then the products manufactured with FLEGT-licensed timber in the processing country cannot be FLEGT licensed. For example, tables made in China from Indonesian FLEGT-licensed timber and exported to the EU would not be FLEGT-licensed products. Operators in the EU who place such products on the market for the first time can refer, in their due diligence under the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), to the FLEGT-licensed status of some or all of the raw materials and to the supply chain controls in the country of harvest. Any process in a non-VPA third country must be covered by the due diligence, as required under the EUTR.
If FLEGT-licensed timber is transported to the EU from a VPA country through a third country, such as China, is the validity of the FLEGT licence affected?
If the FLEGT-licensed shipment is only transported through China, and does not become mixed with any other products while it is in China, the validity of the FLEGT licence is not affected.