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Certified timber ‘still
needs to be checked’

Indonesian timber products exported to the European Union (EU) are still subject to verification checks at local custom offices even though they have been certified under the national Timber Legality Verification System Certificate (SVLK), an EU envoy has said.

Multistakeholder Forestry Program (MFP) UK co-director Andy Roby said in Jakarta on Tuesday that the certified timber products still needed to be checked as the SVLK certification standards had yet to meet EU timber regulations (EUTR) that came into effect in March.

He said that Indonesian timber exporters had to provide information on the origins of the timber products during verification checks before they would be allowed into the EU market.

“Once the FLEGT-VPA is signed, an SLVK automatically meets the requirement for the EUTR,” he said after the launch of the EU-Indonesia Development Cooperation Report Blue Book 2013 in Jakarta on Tuesday.

He said that the EU would fully recognize SVLK certification only after Indonesia ratified its Forestry Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade-Voluntary Partnership Agreement (FLEGT-VPA) with the EU.

The EUTR aims to counter the trade of illegally harvested timber and timber products within the EU market. To comply with the regulation, due diligence must be conducted to make sure the timber is legal, applied to a wide range of timber products, with exceptions for products with an FLEGT-VAP license or Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) license, which are considered by the EU to have been legally harvested.

Despite the procedures, both the EU and Indonesian representatives remain optimistic about Indonesia’s timber product exports as the Indonesian government has been one step ahead in providing timber certification under SVLK.

Meanwhile, MFP Indonesia co-director Achmad E. Nugroho said that Indonesia was ready to compete in the EU timber market as many other timber exporters such as African countries, China and Malaysia did not have certification systems in place for their timber and timber products.

He also told reporters that a joint evaluation on Indonesian certification standards by Indonesian and European consultants was underway.

According to data from MFP, the export of Indonesian forest products reaches an average US$12.86 billion per year, 10 percent of which is exported to the EU.

 Meanwhile, the EU has become a major partner for Indonesia in green projects with total disbursed development assistance for environment and climate change program amounting to $113.14 million last year. According to MFP Indonesia co-director Achmad E. Nugroho, there are more than 407 Indonesian companies that have been audited for SVLK and no less than 151 more requests were in process last month. (koi)

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