EU-Viet Nam voluntary partnership agreement on forest law enforcement, governance and trade
Voluntary Partnership Agreement between the EU and Viet Nam on forest law enforcement, governance and trade
Decision (EU) 2019/854 — concluding the Voluntary Partnership Agreement between the EU and Viet Nam on forest law enforcement, governance and trade
WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE AGREEMENT AND THE DECISION?
The agreement aims to ensure that all timber and timber products from Viet Nam are legally produced.
The decision concludes the agreement on behalf of the EU.
Viet Nam Timber Legality Assurance System (VNTLAS)
Viet Nam is required to set up and implement a Viet Nam Timber Legality Assurance System (VNTLAS) to check that timber and timber products have been legally produced and to ensure that only verified shipments are exported to the EU.
The VNTLAS must include compliance checks and procedures to ensure that timber of illegal or unknown origin does not enter the supply chain.
An independent evaluation will assess the implementation, effectiveness and credibility of the VNTLAS and the FLEGT licensing scheme.
Viet Nam, in consultation with the EU, must assign an independent evaluator to carry out these tasks.
Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT)
The agreement envisages the establishment of a FLEGT licensing scheme, once both parties to the agreement conclude on the basis of a Joint Assessment of Operational Readiness to determine whether the VNTLAS underpinning the FLEGT licensing scheme adequately fulfils its functions.
It also sets out a set of procedures and requirements aimed at verifying and, in the case of exports to the EU, attesting, by means of FLEGT licences, that timber products shipped to the EU were legally produced.
Once the FLEGT licensing scheme enters into force for Viet Nam, for timber and timber products covered by the agreement, the EU will only accept timber shipments from Viet Nam that are covered by FLEGT licences. Timber with a valid FLEGT license will be considered legally harvested within the meaning of the European Timber Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 995/2010). Operators importing FLEGT licensed timber will thus not have to carry our due diligence under that regulation.
A licensing authority (LA) will be appointed by Viet Nam.
The LA verifies that that timber products have been legally produced and issues licences for shipments of such products to the EU.
It will not issue FLEGT licences for:
- any shipment of timber products that has not been legally produced under Vietnamese law as specified in the agreement; or
- in the case of imported timber, timber products that have not been harvested, produced or exported in accordance with the law of the country of harvest and the country of production.
The procedure for issuing FLEGT licences must be publicly available and records must be kept of all shipments covered by such licences.
Receiving and verifying FLEGT Licenses
The competent authority of the EU country concerned must check that each shipment is covered by a valid FLEGT licence before releasing it for free circulation in the EU. This release can be suspended and the shipment held if there are doubts regarding the validity of the licence.
Each party must inform the other if they suspect or have evidence of irregularities in the licensing scheme or any attempt to circumvent it including:
- redirecting trade from Viet Nam to the EU via a non-EU country with the intention of avoiding licensing;
- FLEGT licences covering timber products which contain timber from non-EU countries that is suspected of being illegally produced;
- fraud in obtaining or using FLEGT licences.
DATE OF ENTRY INTO FORCE
The agreement entered into force on 1 June 2019.
For more information see:
Voluntary Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam on forest law enforcement, governance and trade (OJ L 147, 5.6.2019, pp. 3-209)
Council Decision (EU) 2019/854 of 15 April 2019 on the conclusion of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam on forest law enforcement, governance and trade (OJ L 147, 5.6.2019, pp. 1-2)
Notice concerning the entry into force of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam on forest law enforcement, governance and trade (OJ L 241, 19.9.2019, p. 1)
Regulation (EU) No 995/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 October 2010 laying down the obligations of operators who place timber and timber products on the market (OJ L 295, 12.11.2010, pp. 23-34)
Successive amendments to Regulation (EC) No 995/2010 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.
Council Regulation (EC) No 2173/2005 of 20 December 2005 on the establishment of a FLEGT licensing scheme for imports of timber into the European Community (OJ L 347, 30.12.2005, pp. 1-6)
See consolidated version.
last update 10.01.2020