HA NOI (VNS)— Viet Nam and the European Union (EU) concluded the third round of talks on an agreement on timber exports in Brussels last Friday.
The Vietnamese delegation was led by Vo Dai Hai, Deputy Head of the Forestry Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, while the EU delegation was headed by Hugo Maria Schally, Head of International Agreements and Trade at the European Commission's Directorate General for the Environment.
The two sides discussed issues related to the definition of which trees can be licensed to be legally logged and exported, the development of the Timber Legality Assurance System (TLAS) and a list of timber products.
Viet Nam is preparing a TLAS comprising of wood products for both domestic and export markets.
The two sides agreed on an updated roadmap for technical meetings and the fourth round of negotiations scheduled for next April.
Both sides expressed their hope to conclude the round of talks in September 2013.
According to EU regulations, the agreement on forestry law enforcement, governance and trade with Viet Nam, which will take effect on March 3, 2013, will establish a licensing scheme to ensure only licensed timber is exported to the EU.
The EU has signed these types of regulations with several countries, including Ghana, Cameroon and Indonesia. It is holding negotiations with others, including Viet Nam. — VNS