|Rangers patrolling the natural forest areas of Sơn Phú Commune, Na Hang District of the northern mountainous province Tuyên Quang. — VNA/VNS Photo|Viet Nam News
BRUSSELS — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc witnessed the signing of the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade Voluntary Partnership Agreement (FLEGT-VPA) between Việt Nam and the European Union which aims to fight illegal logging, in Brussels yesterday on the sidelines of the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit.
Vietnamese Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyễn Xuân Cường, Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz, and Vice President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini signed the document.
The core of the deal is the Việt Nam Timber Legality Assurance System (VNTLAS), which ensures that wood and timber products exported from Việt Nam to the EU have legal origins.
The issuance of FLEGT licences is only applicable for the EU market, while the VNTLAS will cover both domestic and export markets.
The FLEGT-VPA covers all exports to the EU, with five specific products defined in the FLEGT Regulation of 2015 -- logs, sawn timber, railway sleepers, plywood and veneer -- as well as a number of other timber products such as woodchips or particles, parquet flooring, particle board and wooden furniture.
Addressing the ceremony, Federica Mogherini said that the signing of the deal was the start of an important partnership through which Việt Nam and the EU would team up to deal with illegal logging.
She said that the EU welcomed Việt Nam’s preparations for the implementation of the FLEGT-VPA as well as its progress in strengthening the control of imported wood.
Cường said that the trade of timber products in a legal and sustainable manner suited the country’s development goals, protect its forest and minimise climate change. — VNS