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Honduras and the EU hold the fourth round of negotiations

Honduras and the EU hold the fourth round of negotiations

The European Commission and a delegation of Honduran representatives from government, private sector, civil society and indigenous peoples from Honduras met in Brussels between 12 and 14 October 2015 to negotiate an agreement aimed at addressing the trade of illegal timber. The meeting marked the fourth round of negotiations of the agreement, known as Voluntary Partnership Agreement or VPA. Under a VPA, Honduras will export to the EU only verified legal timber products.

Negotiations between Honduras and the EU started in 2013, making Honduras the first country in Latin America to negotiate a VPA with the EU. This fourth round of negotiations has led to agreement on issues such as:

  • The definition of what constitutes legal timber under the agreement according to the Honduras regulations
  • The type of timber products the agreement will cover
  • The system Honduras will put in place to verify the legal origin of the timber it exports to the EU
  • The measures Honduras will put in place to increase transparency of the forest sector

While trade, and in particular domestic trade, remains a core part of the agreement, there was broad agreement that another central aspect to focus on in the framework of the VPA is improving governance in the forest sector. This includes working on particularly intricate issues, such as land tenure and reform or indigenous peoples rights.  Overall, Honduras is set to benefit from the VPA by implementing good practices in forest management as well as by ensuring the legal trade in timber.

Click here to download the aid memoire from the fourth round of negotiations.