FROM JAKARTA GLOBE, INDONESIA
Jakarta Globe Friday April 22, 2016
JAKARTA – Indonesia will be the first country to implement a timber licensing scheme for exports to European Union, as part of the country effort to reduce illegal logging and promote trade to the economic bloc.
The country has been negotiating the Indonesia-EU Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the EU for over a decade. The agreement is aimed at promoting trade in legally produced timber between the two parties and to improve forest governance and law enforcement.
President Joko Widodo met with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk in Brussels on Thursday (21/04) and agreed that Indonesia is fully ready to implement a timber legality assurance system and other commitments in the agreement.
“Today’s announcement is a signal to markets that it is possible to promote sustainable forest management by buying verified legally produced timber,” said Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.
Under the agreement, Indonesia will be able to issue verified legal timber products with licences recognized under EU’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT). EU said the two parties will now move towards a fully operational licensing system, but did not reveal any time frame.
The FLEGT-licensed timber products can be sold in European market without further verification processes, providing an advantage to Indonesian exporters over their competitors.
Indonesia will be the first country to pass the final hurdle, ahead of other 14 timber producing countries in Southeast Asia and Africa. These countries and Indonesia host 24 percent of the world’s tropical forests and account for 80 percent of the EU’s tropical timber imports.With 20 million hectares of forests and more than 1,700 forest industries, over 90 percent of Indonesia’s timber exports today are from independently audited factories and forests.
The EU buys 11 percent, by value, of timber products and paper exported from Indonesia, while Indonesia supplies 33 percent of the EU’s tropical timber imports by value.