These measures are an important part of global efforts to reduce the trade in illegal timber. However, changes in trade patterns are lessening the impact of this legislation and raising challenges for its implementation.
Until recently, the main timber trade flows were from tropical forested countries direct to Europe and North America. However, as markets in developing and emerging economies have grown, the importance of the European and North American markets has declined for many producer countries, and with this, their influence. Another trend has been the emergence of a number of countries as major processing hubs, most notably China. With increasing amounts of timber being traded via these countries, rather than direct to consumer countries, monitoring of supply chains and verifying legality has become more difficult.
More details on these trends can be found in the report ‘Tackling Illegal Logging and the Related Trade’.