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Timber Regulation

What's new

  • On 17/11/2021, the Commission adopted a Proposal for a Regulation to curb EU-driven deforestation and forest degradation. All related documents, including the Impact Assessment and the Fitness Check of the EU Timber Regulation and the FLEGT Regulation, are available here, only in English for the time being. Translations into all the other EU languages are underway and will be uploaded as soon as available.
  • 25/10/2021: A briefing note covering the period April to September 2021 on developments relevant to the implementation and enforcement of the EU Timber Regulation and on sourcing of deforestation-free commodities.
  • 13/08/2021: The results of a Study on certification and verification schemes in the forest sector and for wood-based products are available here.
  • The Commission overview on the implementation and enforcement of the EU Timber Regulation for the year 2020 is available here.
  • Member States’ reports for the year 2020 on the implementation of the EU Timber Regulation can be found here. The table is updated as soon as new hyperlinks to national websites where the reports are published are made available by the Member States.
  • 07/12/2020: A new EU Timber Regulation country overview if available for the Republic of the Congo.
  • 09/10/2020: A briefing note covering the period June to September 2020 on developments relevant to the implementation and enforcement of the EU Timber Regulation
  • 23/07/2020: Notice to stakeholders: Withdrawal of the United Kingdom and EU rules in the field of fight against illegal logging and associated trade

Obligations and scope

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 – also known as the EU Timber Regulation or EUTR counters the trade in illegally harvested timber and timber products through three key obligations:

  1. It prohibits the placing on the EU market for the first time of illegally harvested timber and products derived from such timber;
  2. It requires EU traders who place timber products on the EU market for the first time to exercise 'due diligence';

Once on the market, the timber and timber products may be sold and/or transformed before they reach the final consumer. To facilitate the traceability of timber products, economic operators in this part of the supply chain (referred to as traders in the regulation) have an obligation to

  1. Keep records of their suppliers and customers.

The Regulation covers a wide range of timber products listed in its Annex, using EU Customs code nomenclature.

The Regulation entered into application on 3 March 2013.

A summary explaining the EU Timber Regulation is available here in all EU languages.

List of Member States' Competent Authorities responsible for implementing the Timber Regulation

What is "due diligence"?

The core of the 'due diligence' notion is that operators undertake a risk management exercise so as to minimise the risk of placing illegally harvested timber, or timber products containing illegally harvested timber, on the EU market.

The three key elements of the "due diligence system" are:

  • Information: The operator must have access to information describing the timber and timber products, country of harvest, species, quantity, details of the supplier and information on compliance with national legislation.
  • Risk assessment: The operator should assess the risk of illegal timber in his supply chain, based on the information identified above and taking into account criteria set out in the regulation.
  • Risk mitigation: When the assessment shows that there is a risk of illegal timber in the supply chain, that risk can be mitigated by requiring additional information and verification from the supplier.

Which products does the Regulation cover?

The Regulation covers a broad range of timber products including solid wood products, flooring, plywood, pulp and paper. Not included are recycled products, as well as printed papers such as books, magazines and newspapers. The product scope can be amended if necessary.

The Regulation applies to both imported and domestically produced timber and timber products.

Timber and timber products covered by valid FLEGT or CITES licenses are considered to comply with the requirements of the Regulation.

Application

The Regulation is legally binding on all 27 EU Member States, which are responsible for laying down effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties and for enforcing the Regulation.

Reports and Reviews (available here)

Article 20 of the EU Timber Regulation stipulates that Member States shall submit to the Commission, every second year, a report on the application of this Regulation during the previous two years and that, on the basis of those reports, the Commission shall draw up a report to be submitted to the European Parliament and to the Council every two years. As of 2020 the reporting period was shortened to one year, in line with Article 8 of Regulation (EU) 2019/1010 of 5 June 2019 on the alignment of reporting obligations in the field of legislation related to the environment Moreover, Article 20 stipulates that, by 3 December 2015 and every 6 years thereafter, the Commission shall, on the basis of the reporting and the experience with the application of the EU Timber Regulation, review the functioning and effectiveness of this Regulation.

The open public consultation on "Illegal logging - evaluation of EU rules (fitness check)" launched by the Commission closed on 26 November 2020. This consultation - a factual summary report of which is available on the Have Your Say portal - was aimed at gathering the views of the concerned public and of a wide range of relevant stakeholders to help inform the Commission whether the EU Timber Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 995/2010) and the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Regulation (Council Regulation (EC) No 2173/2005) were fit for purpose.

Implementation and enforcement

To ensure cooperation between Member States Competent Authorities and with the European Commission, in order to ensure compliance with the EU Timber Regulation (in the spirit of Article 12 of the EUTR), the Commission has set up an Expert Group on the EU Timber Regulation and the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Regulation, which has beenassisting the Commission since 2014 in ensuring uniform implementation of the EUTR and FLEGT Regulation across the European Union. Regarding the EUTR, it is tasked to exchange information, between the Competent Authorities and with the Commission, on shortcomings detected through the checks referred to in Articles 8(4) and 10(1) of the EUTR and on the types of penalties imposed in accordance with Article 19 of the EUTR, identifying best practices and sharing lessons learnt. A summary record of the meetings is published in the Register of Commission Expert Groups

One of the commitments in the EU Communication on Stepping up EU Action to Protect and Restore the World’s Forests was to ‘establish a Platform for multi-stakeholder and Member State dialogue on deforestation, forest degradation and on sustainably increasing world’s forest cover to provide a forum to foster exchanges with and among stakeholders in order to build alliances, push for and share commitments to significantly reduce deforestation, and share experiences and information’.

Given the synergies between the work on EUTR/FLEGT and the follow-up work on the Communication, the Commission has decided to expand the scope of the existing EUTR/FLEGT Expert Group to serve both as forum for the interaction with EU Member States’ authorities and as the multi-stakeholder platform to be established pursuant to the Communication. The group has therefore been renamed "Commission Expert Group / Multi-Stakeholder Platform on Protecting and Restoring the World's Forests, including the EU Timber Regulation and the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Regulation". The work of this new group has been divided in two strands: the implementation of the EU Timber Regulation and the FLEGT Regulation, and the follow-up to the “Commission Communication on Protecting and Restoring the World’s Forests”, and separate meetings are being organised.

The new setting includes Type D members (Member States’ competent authorities) and Type C members (organisations representing industry, farmers, forest/land owners, trade, civil society and research institutes, based in the EU or in third countries, which have been selected through a call for applications). Here is the list of member organisations for the work on the implementation of the EU Timber Regulation and the FLEGT Regulation and the list of member organisations for the work on the follow-up to the “Commission Communication on Protecting and Restoring the World’s Forests”.

Overviews of timber source countries of importance to the EU market are being produced by UNEP-WCMC for the European Commission, to support the implementation of the EU Timber Regulation. Information on forest management, legislation and potential risks of illegality from different timber source countries and timber supply chains assists the work of Competent Authorities in applying a risk-based approach to planning their checks on operators. It also assists operators, who are required to undertake a risk management exercise as part of their Due Diligence System. So far, EU Timber Regulation country overviews are available for: Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Cameroon, China, Côte d’IvoireMalaysiaMyanmarRepublic of the CongoRussian Federation and Ukraine[These overviews, developed by UNEP-WCMC for the European Commission, have been subject to external peer review and will be updated periodically based on available information. They reflect the views of the authors only, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.]

At the 2nd meeting of the “Commission Expert Group/Multi-Stakeholder Platform on Protecting and Restoring the World’s Forests” that took place on 9 December 2020, the EU Member States’ Competent Authorities have adopted conclusions on the application of Articles 4(2) and 6 of the EUTR to timber imports from Ukraine (including Annex), Brazil and Myanmar.

Briefing notes on developments relevant to the implementation and enforcement of the EU Timber Regulation have been compiled by UNEP-WCMC as a consultant of the European Commission in close cooperation with the Member States Competent Authorities. So far there are notes covering the following periods: October 2016 to March 2017April to May 2017June to July 2017August to October 2017November 2017 to January 2018February to March 2018April to May 2018June to August 2018, September to October 2018, November to December 2018, January to February 2019, March to April 2019, May to June 2019, July to August 2019, September to November 2019, December 2019 to January 2020, February to May 2020, June to September 2020.

Briefing notes on the EU Timber Regulation and on sourcing of deforestation-free commodities have been compiled in a similar way. So far there are notes covering the following periods: April to September 2021.

An overview of the EUTR compliance checks performed and penalties imposed by EU Member States’ and EEA Competent Authorities to enforce the implementation of the EU Timber Regulation is planned to be produced biennially. These reports are based on the data provided by the Competent Authorities on a voluntary basis in a format agreed with them and compiled by UNEP-WCMC as a consultant of the European Commission. So far the overviews cover the following periods: March-May 2017June-November 2017, December 2017-June 2018, July-December 2018, January-June 2019. As of the year 2019, the biennial reports have been replaced by annual overviews on the respective calendar year. These can be found here.

An EU Timber Trade interactive dashboard has been created by UNEP-WCMC, as an accompaniment to a report analysing patterns of trade in timber and timber products into and within the European Union over the period 2006-2016 [to be published soon]. Interactive graphs based on EuroStat ComExt data enable users to identify key trading partners, temporal trends and commodities in trade, supporting EU Competent Authorities in planning their compliance checks on operators.

A report looking at the interplay between the EU Timber Regulation and the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations has recently been prepared by UNEP-WCMC for the European Commission. The report reviews approaches to verifying the legality of timber entering the EU under these two Regulations, and provides a comparative analysis of the CITES verification of legal acquisition and the EUTR due diligence. The minutes of a joint EUTR-CITES Expert Group meeting held on 13/02/19 are available here.

Monitoring Organisations

The Regulation provides for "Monitoring organisations" to be recognised by the European Commission. These organisations which are private entities, provide EU operators with operational due diligence systems. Operators can thus develop their own system or use one developed by a monitoring organisation.

List of recognized monitoring organisations

To become a Monitoring Organisation, candidates must send their application to the following e-mail address: ENV-TIMBER-REG@ec.europa.eu

The Commission charges no fees for recognition of Monitoring Organisations.

Candidates may send applications in any of the EU official languages; however a copy translated into English will facilitate and speed up the assessment process. Applicants must clearly state in a cover letter in which EU Member States they intend to provide services. A table with basic minimum description of a due diligence system may be found here, while the assessment tables can be found here.

Secondary legislation

The Commission adopted Commission delegated Regulation of 23.2.2012 on the procedural rules for the recognition and withdrawal of recognition of monitoring organisations as provided for in Regulation (EU) No 995/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down the obligations of operators who place timber and timber products on the market.

The Commission adopted an implementing regulation on the risk assessment and risk mitigation measures which are part of the "due diligence system" as well as on the frequency and nature of checks which Member States` competent authorities will conduct on the monitoring organizations to ensure they comply with the requirements of the Regulation.  The purpose of this regulation is to ensure the uniform implementation of the EU Timber Regulation.

 

Documents

Legislation

Guidance

The updated version of the Guidance Document for the EU Timber Regulation was adopted on 12 February 2016. It is available in English and in the 22 other EU languages and replaces the Guidance document of 2013.

The Commission also adopted a guidance document on the verification of legality in timber trade for CITES-listed tree species imported into the EU.

Additional guidance on the following matters has been agreed by the FLEGT/EUTR Expert Group: Recycled timber and timber productsSubstantiated concernsRisk mitigation measures, Consideration of prevalence of armed conflict and sanctions in Due Diligence Systems, and Due Diligence.
Further guidance documents and updates of existing guidance will be integrated in the above-mentioned Commission notice 'Guidance document for the EU Timber Regulation' at its next update.

Preparatory legislative process

Disclaimer:

The Commission is in the process of updating some of the content on this website in the light of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. If the site contains content that does not yet reflect the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, it is unintentional and will be addressed.