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EU recognises Vietnam’s progress on timber legalityVietnam and the EU have completed the third round of negotiations on a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) to implement the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance, and Trade (FLEGT) program.

Speaking at the site of the negotiations in Belgium on November 15 and 16, Hugo Maria Schally, Head of the International Agreements and Trade Unit at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Environment, stressed the need to develop the Timber Legality Assurance System (TLAS).

Participants discussed measures to assist the timely exchange of information, increase the frequency of inspections, and complete the legislative framework on timber legality.

The EU recognised Vietnam’s ongoing progress in enforcing the criteria for legal timber products, inspired by the six basic principles of exploration and export.

Vietnam is completing its TLAS for both domestic consumption and export markets.

Vietnamese and EU representatives agreed on a draft roadmap to be discussed in more detail at the negotiation’s fourth round in April 2013.

Vietnam is expected to finalise all the rounds of negotiation with the EU in September 2013.

According to the EU’s regulations, the FLEGT program will be in effect from March 3 2013 and establishes a mechanism aimed at guaranteeing that the wood exported to the EU market is sourced legally.

So far, the EU has signed FLEGT VPAs with several countries, including Ghana, Cameroon and Indonesia. Negotiations with Vietnam and some other nations are in progress.

(VOV)

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