Vietnam, EU sign FLEGT-VPA to fight illegal logging
Updated : Saturday, October 20, 2018 9:59 AM (GMT+0700)

PrimeMinister Nguyen Xuan Phuc witnessed the signing of the Forest Law EnforcementGovernance and Trade Voluntary Partnership Agreement (FLEGT-VPA) betweenVietnam and the European Union, which aims to fight illegal logging, inBrussels on October 19 on the sidelines of the 12th Asia-EuropeMeeting (ASEM) Summit.

At the signing ceremony - Photo: VNA

Vietnamese Minister ofAgriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong, Austrian Prime MinisterSebastian Kurz, and Vice President of the European Commission FedericaMogherini inked the document.

The core of the deal is theVietnam Timber Legality Assurance System (VNTLAS) which ensures that wood andtimber products of Vietnam in the EU have legal origins.

The issuance of FLEGT licencesis only applicable for the EU market, while the VNTLAS will cover both domesticand export markets.

The FLEGT-VPA covers allexports to the EU, with five specific products defined in the FLEGT Regulationof 2015 - logs, sawn timber, railway sleepers, plywood and veneer - as well asa number of other timber products such as wood in chips or particles, parquetflooring, particle board and wooden furniture.

Addressing the ceremony,Federica Mogherini said that the signing of the deal is the start of animportant partnership through which Vietnam and the EU will team up in dealingwith illegal logging and consequences of the activities.

She said that the EU welcomesVietnam’s preparations for the implementation of the FLEGT-VPA as well asprogress in strengthening the control of imported wood.

However, it is necessary forthe country to work harder as the control of legacy of imported wood will playa significant role in fully conducting the FLEGT-VPA and help ensure that woodand timber products that Vietnam ships to the EU has legal origins.

Meanwhile, Minister NguyenXuan Cuong said that the trading of good and timber products in a legal andsustainable manner is suitable to development goals and efforts of Vietnam toprotect the forest and minimise climate change.

Vietnam has strong anddeveloping wood processing industry with an important role in the world market,he said, adding that the business community and non-governmental organisationsof Vietnam support the FLEGT-VPA and engage in the completion of the relevantlegal systems.

In reality, FLEGT-VPA commitmentshave been included in the Vietnam Forestry Law which will take effect onJanuary 1, 2019. The law prohibits the import of illegal timber toVietnam. 

Cuong also stated that Vietnamhas prepared plans for the implementation of FLEGT-VPA with the involvement ofmany parties.


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