Full Text of VPA-FLEGT18/01/2019 169
The VPA is a legally-binding bilateral trade agreement that aims to improve forest governance and promote trade in legal timber from Vietnam to the EU.
- VPAs are among the key tools of the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Government and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan of 2003. Vietnam is one of 15 countries negotiating or implementing VPAs with the EU.
- Vietnam and the EU began negotiating the VPA in 2010. They agreed in principle on the content of the VPA in November 2016 and signed the VPA in October 2018.
- Before the VPA can enter into force, each Party will have must sign and ratify it, in line with their internal procedures.
- Under the VPA both parties commit to trading only in legal timber products.
- Among other things, the VPA describes a timber legality assurance system capable of verifying the legality of timber products. When fully operational the timber legality assurance system will issue FLEGT licences to accompany Vietnam’s exports of verified legal timber products to the EU.
- Vietnam will then only export FLEGT-licensed timber products to the EU. The EU will only allow Vietnam’s timber exports to enter the EU if they are accompanied by a valid FLEGT licence. FLEGT-licensed timber is considered as meeting the requirements of the EU Timber Regulation, which prohibits EU importers and domestic producers from placing illegally harvested timber and timber products on the EU market.
- The VPA also includes a framework for overseeing, monitoring and evaluating implementation of the VPA and the economic, social and environmental impacts of the VPA.
- The VPA is the first that the EU has signed with a major timber processing country and is the EU’s second VPA with an Asian country (after Indonesia).
After the entry into force of a VPA, there is typically a period of intense technical work to establish all systems and procedures required for its implementation. Once the Vietnam Timber Legality Assurance system (VNTLAS) has been fully operationalised, FLEGT licensing will begin after a joint assessment of the VNTLAS by Vietnam and the EU confirms that the system fully meets the requirements described in the VPA.
Full Text of VPA-FLEGT is attached below (in both English and Vietnamese)