All about the Laos-EU Voluntary Partnership Agreement
Forests cover about 40% of Laos. The government plans to improve the forestry sector by reducing export of raw logs and primary wood products from natural forests, and increasing intensively managed plantations of industrial tree crops. The government is now revising major laws, including the Land Law and the Forest Law.
Land clearing during the conversion of natural forest areas to non-forest or plantation use is the main source of timber in Laos, in particular land clearing for hydropower and agriculture projects. Most export timber goes to neighbouring Vietnam and China, although this has drastically reduced following a ban on the export of logs and primary wood products in 2016.
By entering into a VPA with the EU, Laos aims to improve opportunities for the Lao timber industry to access the EU market, diversify their timber products and increase revenue from timber exports.
The country intends to use the VPA process in their efforts to develop the country's forest sector. The government hopes to increase the portion of skilled jobs with higher wages and to develop opportunities for technology transfer to the Lao timber industry. Laos also aspires to help ensure sustainable development of the forest sector, stop illegal logging, raise awareness of the benefits of timber legality in the country, enhance transparency and good governance and strengthen existing timber management policies.
The Department of Forest Inspection under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is the national focal point for developing the VPA. The Government of Laos announced its interest in negotiating a VPA in February 2012. In October 2013 the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry opened a Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Standing Office with support from Germany's Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).
For more information, visit the Lao FLEGT VPA website: www.flegtlaos.com
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