Indonesia and EU launch shipment test for legal timber export

Indonesia and the EU have carried out an exercise to test the performance of export and import procedures for timber shipments as part of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA).

On 23 October, consignments of plywood, paper, furniture and other timber products left Indonesia for ports in six EU countries. The first shipments arrived on 10 November; testing will continue into December.

This test represents the first practical effort to prepare timber operators and officials in the EU for the import of FLEGT licensed timber. 

The EU–Indonesia VPA negotiations were concluded in April 2011 and the VPA awaits ratification. This test makes use of proxy FLEGT licences. Valid FLEGT licenses will be issued after ratification of the VPA and once Indonesia's Legality Assurance System for the timber is operational and has passed an independent assessment.

Gunther Hentschel, a timber legality expert working with the EU FLEGT Facility, is coordinating the test exercise in collaboration with his Indonesian counterpart. Mr Hentschel is visiting importers, customs officials and EU Member States competent authorities to assess the handling of FLEGT licences and import and clearance procedures.

Enterprises participating in the tests include Indonesian exporters and European importers based in Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The preliminary findings are to be presented in Brussels in early December and final findings will be presented by the end of the year.

More information

More details on the shipment test are given in this Briefing Note.

Press release of the Delegation of the European Union to Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam and ASEAN