Indonesia obtains developed world EU's Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade license

Suherdjoko The Jakarta Post 24 Aug 16;

Indonesia became the first country to obtain the EU's Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) as the European Parliament approved the European Commission’s proposal for the extending the FLEGT license to Indonesia on Aug. 9.

With the decision, Indonesian wood products are allowed to enter 28 EU member countries without having to pass a due diligence process, which was expensive and a lengthy procedure, as previously required by EU trade laws.

“As a follow up to the decision, on Aug.18, the European Commission issued an EU regulation, which acknowledges that Indonesia has fulfilled the requirements within the framework of the EU Trade Regulation and Voluntary Partnership Agreement signed by Indonesia and the EU in 2013,” the Environment and Forestry Ministry’s sustainable production forest management director general, Putera Parthama, said in Semarang, Central Java, on Tuesday.

With the EU regulation, he said, Indonesia left behind its competitors, which also exported wood products to the European market. They included African countries, which had signed a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the EU; Latin America countries; ASEAN member countries—Malaysia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos—and China.

“It’s real proof that Indonesia’s timber legality system [SVLK] has been acknowledged by the 28 EU member countries as guaranteeing that Indonesian wood products do not come from illegal logging activities,” said Putera.

Since the implementation of the SVLK in 2013, Indonesia’s export value in wood products has increased from year to year. In 2015, the country’s export value increased two fold from the previous year. In July, Indonesia’s wood exports amounted to US$500 billion with the three biggest export destinations comprising China, Korea and Japan.

“The EU market accounts for 11 percent of our total wood products market. However, the EU can become a barometer in relation to environmental requirements and timber legality,” said Putera. (ebf)