A Tale of Two Laws: How European and US legislation can better combat illegal timber

8 Feb 2018


EIA Illegal Logging Tale Of Two Laws report

This report explores new legal analysis by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) that outlines existing but previously unrecognised risks and liabilities under the USA’s Lacey Act in relation to the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR).

Over the past year, EIA has both identified and explored the previously unrealised fact that the US Lacey Act prohibits timber which has been sold in violation of any foreign law protecting plants and that the EUTR is such a ’foreign law‘. In turn, EIA analysis concludes that placing wood on the EU market in violation of the EUTR is a predicate offense under Lacey and that wood sold in violation of the EUTR is, by definition, contraband under US law. Further, because the Lacey Act regulates all products containing wood, any product containing wood that was placed on the EU market in violation of the EUTR is contraband under Lacey.

The insight has significant implications, extending legal and/or commercial risks and liabilities to virtually all actors in the entire supply chain of any type of product incorporating timber traded from the EU to the US. As this briefing describes, these liabilities now extend to companies not even regulated by either the EUTR or Lacey, resulting in the intent of these laws – embedding Due Diligence and Due Care into company procurement decisions – being more likely to be applied by a far larger source of timber demand in both markets.