EU Timber Regulation

EU Timber Regulation

European Forest Institute (EFI)

The EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) entered into force on 3 March 2013. Under the EUTR EU operators are prohibited from placing illegally harvested timber and timber products on the EU market. Operators must exercise due diligence to reduce the risk of illegal timber being present in their supply chains. The EUTR also requires that traders who buy or sell timber and timber products already on the market maintain records about their suppliers and customers. 

The EUTR forms one of two key elements of the EU’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan, together with the Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) negotiated with producer countries.

Illegal timber is defined in the Regulation as any product that is not produced in accordance with all applicable national legislation. “Applicable” legislation is defined as including laws relating to rights to harvest, payments for harvest rights and timber, forest management and biodiversity conservation, third parties’ use and tenure rights, trade and customs. 

The EUTR allows for operators to develop their own due diligence system or to use a system developed by a monitoring organisation. Member states are responsible for designating a competent authority, ensuring it is sufficiently resourced and establishing the penalties that apply in cases of non-compliance.

Under the EUTR, any timber or timber product which carries a FLEGT licence or a CITES permit (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is considered to be legal. Certain products are excluded from the Regulation; a list of these can be found on the European Commission’s EUTR webpage.