EUTR perspectives - New EFI article series

Gert-Jan Nabuurs, EFI and Hubert Inhaizer, EFICENT-OEF: "Countdown to the EU Timber Regulation: less than 365 days to go"

If you think illegal harvesting of wood is only taking place in developing countries, or in China or Russia, then you have it wrong. Illegal logging is also taking place in Europe. It can be as ‘small' as avoiding part of the VAT payments when wood is traded, or a forest management plan which is not properly followed. Still, this could make the timber illegal, depending on how legality is defined. Trade in illegal timber is a global problem, with huge environmental, economic and social impacts. It is associated with poor governance – corruption, lack of accountability, tax avoidance, and conflicts over land and resources as well as issues like deforestation, climate change and loss of biodiversity.

As part of strengthening the FLEGT action plan, the EU has introduced new legislation – the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) – to combat the problem, and ensure that all wood products, whether harvested within the EU or imported from elsewhere, are supplied legally. The Regulation (EU No 995/2010) will mean that all ‘operators' – all businesses or organisations who put timber or timber products on the EU market for the first time – will have to be able to show due diligence. 

This regulation will apply from 3 March 2013, and may have a large impact on the international trade in wood products. The EUTR is now in the phase of Member States preparing themselves to implement it. We therefore highlight the EUTR in this special section of EFI News to create further awareness. We provide points of view from industry, an NGO, the European Commission, a producing country, and a trade federation.

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This article can be found in the latest issue of EFI News, which concentrates on the countdown to the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR). The issue offers points of view from industry, an NGO, the European Commission, a producing country and a trade federation. 

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