The Netherlands is a major importer of wood-based products. This is partly to supply its domestic market but it is also a major transit hub supplying timber to other European countries. The majority of imports are from within Europe; important exporting countries of tropical timber include Brazil, Cameroon, Indonesia and Malaysia.
Illegal timber is estimated to make up a small proportion of total imports. In 2013, it was estimated that just 1% of imports (by volume) of wood-based products were illegal – a decline from 3% in 2000 (Chatham House, 2014).
The Dutch government has been very engaged in tackling the trade in illegal timber. It has played an active part in the development of the EU’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan, including the negotiation of the voluntary partnership agreements (VPAs). It also introduced a public procurement policy for timber in 2004, and has been actively promoting the trade in sustainable timber, including through the Sustainable Trade Initiative and the European Sustainable Tropical Timber Coalition (Chatham House, 2014). As an EU Member State, the Netherlands is required to implement the EU Timber Regulation, which came into force in March 2013.