Thailand and EU announce the start of VPA negotiations
The Kingdom of Thailand and the EU have officially begun negotiations for a VPA, as confirmed in an announcement on 11 September. Thailand is a major manufacturing hub for wood products in Southeast Asia and a major supplier of wooden furniture and other timber products to large consumer markets. In 2012, Thai exports to the EU of timber and timber products covered by the EU Timber Regulation totalled around EUR 145 million.
The opening of these negotiations demonstrates the commitment on the part of both Thailand and the EU to respond together to the problem of illegal logging and related trade.
Thailand began preparing for these negotiations in 2011. In December 2012, the Thai Parliament and Cabinet took the decision to enter negotiations. Preparations included studies and workshops by the Royal Forest Department, other stakeholders and the EU FLEGT Facility. Lead negotiators from Thailand and the EU discussed their respective preparations for the first round of negotiations during a video conference on 27 September.
Thailand joins 14 other countries already implementing or negotiating a VPA with the EU, including Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia.