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Import Controls: FLEGT Licences and the fight against illegal logging

(S,P) Find our what the FLEGT licence is and when you need one and how to get one

Illegal logging is a current global problem with a significant negative impact on the economy, the environment and society. It results in lost revenues, is linked to deforestation, climate change and a loss of biodiversity and can also trigger social issues such as corruption and disempowerment of local communities. The EU is fully committed to fighting against it and a major milestone has been achieved in 2016 with the new Indonesia’s “FLEGT licences” to import timber products into the EU.

What is “illegal logging” and how the EU fights against it?

Illegal logging is the harvesting of timber in infringement of the laws and regulations of the country of harvest. In order to address this issue, the EU established the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan. On this note, the EU has entered into bilateral FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPA) with certain countries that include commitments and action from both parties to stop trade in illegal timber, particularly with a license scheme to verify the legality of timber exported to the EU.

New step: “FLEGT licences”

In the framework of the EU-Indonesia’s VPA, it has been agreed that from 15 November 2016 Indonesia can issue FLEGT licences proving the legality of the timber products it exports to the EU, being the first country in the world taking this step. Indonesia’s FLEGT-licensing scheme is based on a mandatory certification system called the “Sistem Verifikasi Legalitas Kayu (SVLK)” or Timber Legality Assurance System that assures the compliance with national laws on environmental, social and economic aspects. This new context involves that:

  • Indonesia’s timber exports are no longer subject to the requirements of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) since FLEGT-licensed products automatically meet the those requirements.

  • From now on all timber products listed in the VPA to be exported to the EU must be accompanied by a FLEGT licence issued by an Indonesian Licensing Authority but no further due diligence will be needed.

  • Those timber products not accompanied by the corresponding licence will be denied to enter into the EU.

How can Customs Manager help importers?

“FLEGT licences” are covered under EU Taric import controls. However, the nature of global trade makes it nearly impossible for companies to manage imports manually and stay current with ever-changing import regulations. Customs Manager Ltd, which also covers these new licences, helps traders with import compliance avoiding the difficulty to do it manually.

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