During June, representatives of the European Commission, Council and Parliament reached agreement on the text of legislation designed to remove illegal wood from European trade. On July 7, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of the agreed text, thereby removing the last major hurdle to passage of the legislation.
The legislation now includes a clause making European wood traders liable for prosecution if found in possession of illegally harvested wood.It also provides a strong incentive to European traders to implement a “due diligence” system designed to minimise the risk of their trading in illegal wood.
Under the agreed text, the requirement for a “due diligence” system extends to those European operators that “first place” timber and timber products on to the EU market. “First placers” are taken to include both timber and timber product importers and domestic log suppliers within the EU.
After the final approval by the Council in September, the rules are expected to take effect in late 2012.
(see details on page 13)