EU FLEGT informed that on May 11, 2017, the EU and Vietnam formally concluded their negotiations towards a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA), by initialling the document. Under the VPA, Vietnam will develop and implement a timber legality assurance system (TLAS) and other commitments.
According to the announcement, the VPA is designed to tackle illegal logging not only in Vietnam. It will also commit Vietnam to develop procedures and legislation requiring importers to conduct due diligence to prevent illegally-harvested timber from entering Vietnamese supply chains.
Typically, the process of VPA implementation take some years. It includes development of the TLAS elements and build capacity to operate the system. Until the VPA implementation, timber products exported from Vietnam to the EU face the normal due diligence requirements of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), which prohibits operators from placing illegally-harvested timber from any country on the EU market.
Initialling indicates that both parties confirm that the text is what they agreed. It sets the stage for the parties to later sign and ratify the agreement, after which the VPA will become legally binding. At the same time, only when the EU and Vietnam are satisfied that the timber legality assurance system meets the commitments outlined in the VPA, will Vietnam be able to issue FLEGT licences to products it exports to the EU. FLEGT licences are deemed to meet the requirements of the EUTR, meaning that operators who place FLEGT-licensed products on the market do not need to do further due diligence.
The text of the EU-Vietnam FLEGT VPA can be found at the following link.
Earlier Indonesia started shipping FLEGT-licensed products.
Source: EU FLEGT Facility/Woodbizforum