FOREIGN AGRICULTURAL SERVICE
On June 16, 2010 a deal was made between the European Parliament, the EU Member States (MS) and the Commission that will lead to a ban of illegal timber in the EU starting 2012.
The agreement covers raw timber and wood products like furniture and floor boards. Printed materials such as books and newspapers are exempted for at least five years. Companies will have to trace products and raw timber to the country and location the wood was originally harvested in. The parties could not agree on fines and sanctions for companies who break the rules so it will be up to each MS to decide how severe penalties should be. The Parliament had a second reading on the draft regulation in July and the final act in the Council is scheduled for October 25, 2010.
Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT)
which calls for the Commission to negotiate
Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VAP) with countries experiencing
illegal logging. Once these VAPs have been signed all EU imports from
these countries must have a legally logged certificate. The VAPís are
based on what is legal in the producer countries so criteria can differ.
The EU has signed VAPís with Ghana, the Republic of Congo and Cameroon
and negotiations are ongoing with Central African Republic, Indonesia,
Liberia and Malaysia.