European Regulation 995/2010, commonly known as EU Timber Regulation (EUTR ) aims to prohibit the release on the EU market of timber (and by-products) from illegal harvesting (art. 4 § 1). 

News

News items only available in French and Dutch

Scope

The Annexure to the Regulations lists the covered products, with reference to the Customs Code. 

(Based on the combined nomenclature (CN), goods are classified under a specific commodity code / customs code).

Following below is a list of the most important wood articles that fall within the scope, with their corresponding codes in the combined nomenclature:

  • Energy wood, like pellets, fuel wood and wood agglomerated in logs/briquettes (CN 4401)
  • Wood in the rough (CN 4403)
  • Sawn wood and shaped wood (e.g. for deck and parquet flooring), sheets of veneering and railway or tramway sleepers (cross-ties) of wood (CN 4406-4409)
  • Wooden board materials: particle board, fibre board, oriented strand board (OSB), plywood (CN 4410-4412)
  • Packing cases:  boxes, crates, pallets and similar packing of wood (CN 4415)
  • Builder’s joinery and carpentry of wood including windows, doors, assembled flooring panels, laminated wood, beams, ... (CN 4418)
  • Wooden furniture (CN 9403 30, 9403 40, 9403 50, 9403 60 and 9403 90 30).
  • Pulp of wood and paper or paperboard (CN chapters 47 & 48)
  • Prefabricated buildings of wood, e.g. saunas, pergolas, … (CN 940610)
  • Densified wood, wooden frames and barrels and tubs and such of wood (CN 4413,4414,4416)

Please note, some types of products are only partially covered by the scope (e.g. wooden furniture, bamboo) or only in certain circumstances (e.g. packaging material, recycled/waste products, printed paper). It is therefore advisable to properly inform you about the definitions used in both the Timber Regulation and the customs nomenclature.

It applies to timber and to the by-products from any country (including the European Union countries).

This Regulation lays down a series of obligations:

  • for traders, i.e. any natural or legal person who, in the course of a commercial activity, sells or purchases timber or timber by-products in the domestic market that have been already released in the domestic market;
  • for operators, i.e. any natural or legal person that releases timber in the market for the first time.

Obligations of traders

Traders have a traceability obligation. They must be able to identify their suppliers and the traders to whom they have supplied timber and the by-products. This information shall be kept for a period of five years and must be submitted on demand of the competent authorities (Article 5). 

Obligations of operators

Operators, as meant under the Regulations, are in fact professionals who:
- import timber or timber by-products from a non- EU member country
(a product imported from a EU country is deemed to have been already released in the market);
- cultivate timber in European forests as part of a commercial activity.

Article 4 of the Regulations lays down the obligations of operators. They must implement a due diligence system, and update it. The purpose of such a system is to identify the risk factors, to assess the risk and finally to make provisions for mitigation. The due diligence system, described in Article 6, shall contain the following elements:

a. measures and procedures providing access to the following information:

  • product description
  • country of harvest
  • quantity
  • supplier
  • trader
  • documents/information indicating the legality


b. procedures for risk assessment so that timber from illegal harvest is not acquired, based especially on:

  • information given in point a.
  • assurance of compliance with the applicable legislation. For example: certification/verification system by a third party
  • prevalence of illegal harvesting in the country of harvest
  • existence of United Nations or the European Union sanctions
  • complexity of the supply chain

c. risk mitigation procedures consisting of a series of adequate and proportionate measures to effectively minimise the said risk and which may include the need for additional information or documents and/or the need for a third-party verification.

Regulation 607/2012 specifies these obligations by determining that:
-  (Article 5§1) information, measures and procedures of the due diligence system must be certified by the appropriate registers, which are made available to the competent authority for 5 years;

- (Article 5§ 2.) In applying their due diligence system operators shall be able to demonstrate how the information gathered was checked against the risk criteria provided for in Article 6(1)(b) of Regulation (EU) No 995/2010, how a decision on risk mitigation measures was taken and how the operator determined the degree of risk.

- (Article 2 ) the due diligence system should apply to each type of timber or timber product supplied by a particular supplier over a maximum period of twelve months, provided that the wood species, the country or countries of harvest or, if applicable (see Article 3), the sub-national regions and the harvesting concessions remain unchanged.

Guidelines: clarification of the obligations of operators

Following consultations with stakeholders, experts from Member States and members of the FLEGT Committee,  guidelines have been developed (not legally binding) that clarify certain aspects of the EU Timber Regulation :

Guidance document for the eu timber regulation of 12 02 2016. The document addresses issues such as the definition of ‘placing on the market’, relying on documents from third countries, the role of third-party-verification schemes, the complexity of the supply chain and treatment of agents.

Guidance document on steps to be taken by EU Member States in the case of doubts as to the legality of timber from CITES-listed species imported into the EU.

Monitoring organisations

Operators can either develop their own due diligence system, or use a monitoring organisation

A monitoring organisation offers support to operators for implementation of their due diligence obligation. Operators use the due diligence system provided by the monitoring organisations and are liable for the compliance of timber (and/or by-products) that they release in the market.
In order to fulfil their role, the monitoring organisations must:
a) maintain and regularly review a due diligence system and give the operators the right to use it;
b) check that these operators use their due diligence system properly;
c) take appropriate measures in case of improper use of the due diligence system by an operator, including notification to the competent authorities of any significant or repeated breach by an operator.

Contact details of recognized monitoring organisations

Timber harvested in Belgium

In Belgium, the Regions are responsible for the implementation of the forest laws. You can find more information on their sites: Flemish Region, Walloon Region, Brussels Region.
Depending on the region and type of forest ownership (public/private), the following documents attest to the legality of harvested timber: cultivation permit; forest management plan;  logging authorisation; sales slip.

Competent authority

The competent authority for the implementation of this rule in Belgium is:

DG for the Environment
Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment
Place Victor Horta, 40 box 10
1060 Brussels
E-mail: eutr@health.fgov.be

Useful links

You want more information on these regulations, directives about its application, contact details of the competent authorities or the list of recognised control organisations? Visit the website of the European Commission

1) http://ec.europa.eu/environment/eutr2013/how-is-it-applied/index_en.htm
2) http://ec.europa.eu/environment/forests/timber_regulation.htm

Other useful links