EU Approves New Rules on Illegal Timber

3 December 2010: New rules to prevent illegal timber being sold on the European market have come into force across the EU, in order to strengthen efforts to halt illegal logging causing serious environmental damage and biodiversity loss, and undermining sustainable forest management. 

The new "Regulation laying down the obligations of operators who place timber and timber products on the market" will ban the sale on the EU market of illegal timber or of products derived from illegally harvested timber.
 It requires EU operators selling timber and timber products, whether they originate from the EU or are imported, to ensure that timber has been harvested according to the relevant laws of the country of harvest. Traders along the supply chain within the EU are also required to keep records of whom their timber or timber product was bought from and was sold to. 

EU member States will be responsible for applying sanctions to operators breaking these rules. Timber products from countries that have entered into Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Voluntary Partnership Agreements with the EU will be considered to be in compliance with the Regulation.

The Regulation applies to a wide range of timber and timber products, including solid timber products, plywood and board products, furniture, pulp and paper.

 It is expected that it will contribute to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and to preventing biodiversity loss. The date of application of the regulations in all EU Member States will be 3 March 2013. [EU Press Release][The Regulation]