|Việt Nam and the European Union (EU) have concluded six years of negotiations on the Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (VPA/FLEGT). -- Photo courtesy of EU Delegation in Việt Nam|Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI – The doors are set to open wider for Vietnamese timber exports to Europe after Việt Nam and the European Union (EU) concluded negotiating a forestry pact.
The Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (VPA/FLEGT) was negotiated for nearly six years.
The conclusion of negotiations was announced at press briefing in Hà Nội yesterday by Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyễn Xuân Cường and European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella.
The VPA aims to ensure legal exports of all timber products and promote sustainable development of the Vietnamese wood sector while expanding its reach into foreign markets, especially the EU.
It also aims to prevent illegal logging, strengthen forest governance and promote trade in legally produced timber. Under the agreement, Viêt Nam will build and operate a timber legality assurance system (VNTLAS) in line with the country’s situation and the EU’s requirements on tracing the origin of timber in the supply chain.
Cường said full operation of the VNTLAS would significantly contribute to ensuring the origin of Vietnamese timber exported to the EU and other markets. The FLEGT licence would allow Vietnamese businesses to export wood products to the union without taking accountability for the origin of legal timber products, he added.
Commissioner Karmenu Vella said implementation of the agreement would help achieve social, environmental and economic targets.
He said the key commitments were to establish a strong and reliable system and effective mechanisms to detect any violations, ensuring law enforcement, he said.
The EU will strictly monitor Việt Nam’s implementation of the VPA and would support the country in this, he said.
The two sides began negotiating the VPA/FLEGT in October 2010. As many as 10 high-level and 18 technical negotiating sessions were held before reaching a conclusion. -- VNS