Informative Tour Focusing on Timber Regulations in the UK and VPA - FLEGT in the EU

In July 2022, a tour was organised to promote the transformation of the market and legal trade of timber imported to Viet Nam. Delegates from the Viet Nam Administration of Forestry (VNFOERST), General Department of Viet Nam Customs (GDVC), and Viet Nam timber associations participated along with a delegation from the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

The participants joined the Chatham House Global Forum. They visited relevant state, NGO offices as well as companies focusing on imports. These activities gave them a more in-depth understanding of the import control systems function in the the UK and Europe They learned about their policies and how to effectively implement them to remove illegally attained wood from supply chains.

Mr. Ngo Sy Hoai, Vice President and General Secretary of Viet Nam Timber and Forest Product Association said: “European markets pay attention to both legal and sustainable factors. Forest certification is essential to ensure sustainability, when it comes to public procurement policies applied incountries that form part of the EU. Therefore, along with the implementation of the Viet Nam Timber Legality Assurance System (VNTLAS) Decree Viet Nam also needs to promote forest certification in the process of FLEGT licensing to export timber to the EU and UK markets and to prepare for the implementation of the upcoming EU Deforestation Free Law/Regulations."

Ms. Pham Lan Trang, Specialist of Customs Supervision of GDVC, added: “In the UK and the EU, the information sharing between authorities, non-government organisations and timber associations plays a significant role in ensuring the control of timber from a legal source. They share information with each other and work closely together. Notably, NGOs have made great and active contributions with their research and shared information in this matter. The same strategy should be applied and developed in Vietnam.”

The lessons learned will be shared with the TLAS development in Viet Nam and Laos, focusing on mutually supportive, legally binding import measures. Controlling the legality of imported timber is expected to play a crucial role in the VNTLAS approach. It is critical to Vietnam’s access to US, UK and EU markets.

This extremely informative tour was organised with the support of two projects “Support to VPA processes in Viet Nam: Towards legal timber supply chains between VPA countries” and “Support to the implementation of the FLEGT VPA in Viet Nam". Both projects are commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany (BMZ)and implemented by GIZ and MARD / VNFOREST jointly. The project “Support to VPA processes in Viet Nam: Towards legal timber supply chains between VPA countries” is co-financed by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the United Kingdom (FCDO).