8.3.2017

The EU Timber Regulation places obligations on importers

The EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) has been applied for approximately four years, since March 2013. The purpose of the EUTR is to prevent the import and use of illegally harvested timber, and products made from such timber, within the EU. Before making a purchase decision, the importer is obliged to ensure that any products traded do not contain timber of illegal origin.

To meet the obligations of the EUTR, the timber products importer must carry out a risk assessment and, if necessary, mitigate the risk, as well as providing the appropriate documentation. As part of the risk assessment, it is important to follow professional publications, media and official announcements. For example, the legality of Myanmar teak has recently received the attention of the judiciary in Sweden.

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) also monitor illegal logging and publish status reports. NGO reports are not comparable to information issued by the authorities, however, and this should be borne in mind.

In Finland, the Agency for Rural Affairs (Mavi) is responsible for the enforcement and supervising of the Timber Regulation. The Agency for Rural Affairs carries out risk-based checks in accordance with the orders issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. For example, the checks cover the system the importer uses to meet the requirements set by the EUTR.

The EU Timber Regulation concerns operators placing timber and timber products on the market and traders of timber and timber products within the EU. Products covered by the Regulation include, for example, furniture, paper, panels and timber.

Illegal timber refers to timber harvested or sold in violation of local legislation in the country of origin. Illegalities may involve, for example, illegal logging, tax fraud or the forgery of customs documents. Illegal logging has a major impact on deforestation and the reduction of biological diversity.


For more information on the EU Timber Regulation, please contact:

Marko Lehtosalo, Senior Inspector
+358 (0)295 31 2397

Shingo Masuda, Forest Expert
+358 (0)295 31 2408

Email: firstname.lastname@mavi.fi

EUTR on the website of the Finnish Agency for Rural Affairs

 


19.10.2016 

EU and Indonesia agree on import of timber 

The European Union and Indonesia have concluded negotiations on preventing illegal logging and the related illegal trade. In the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) signed, the parties agree to comply with the FLEGT licensing scheme which ensures that timber and timber products are legally produced.  

The European Commission published Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1387/2016, relating to the VPA, in the EU official journal. According to the regulation, the first FLEGT-licensed batch may be dispatched from Indonesia on 15 November 2016. 

An electronic system to be launched for the processing of licences

The EU Commission will introduce an electronic system, FLEGIT, for the processing of FLEGT-licences  approximately two weeks before the launch of the licensing system. The Finnish Agency for Rural Affairs will also inform about the launch schedule of the FLEGIT-system in the next few weeks. Until the introduction of the licensing scheme, the requirements laid down in the EU Timber Regulation will apply to the import of timber products. 

A FLEGT-licence, an actual physical licence, is required both for exporting timber products from Indonesia and for importing them into the EU area. Even though the approval of the licence is processed in the electronic system, the actual licence on paper will have to be submitted to the Agency for Rural Affairs before customs clearance of the goods.  

The aim of the EU FLEGT Action Plan against illegal logging is to prevent illegal logging and the related trade in the long term. For further information on the FLEGT licensing scheme and the EU Timber Regulation, see the website of the Finnish Agency for Rural Affairs and the FAQ website published by the European Commission in cooperation with the European Forest Institute EFI. 

Further information:
Shingo Masuda, Forest Expert
+358 295 31 2408
firstname.lastname(at)mavi.fi 

Tuija Jämbäck, Senior Officer
+358 295 31 2494
firstname.lastname(at)mavi.fi 

E-mail: tuovi(at)mavi.fi

 

12.9.2016 

The Commission's delegated regulation on the FLEGT licensing scheme has been published

On 18 August, the European Commission published Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1387/2016 in its official journal. This means that the FLEGT licensing scheme may begin on 15 November 2016.  

The Commission will launch an electronic system for the processing of licences around two weeks before the first FLEGT licences are issued. We will inform our domestic actors separately of when it will become possible to log into the system.  

For further information on the FLEGT licensing scheme and the EU Timber Regulation, see the FAQs published by the European Commission in cooperation with the EFI at: http://www.euflegt.efi.int/web/flegt-licence/faq 

Further information: 

Marko Lehtosalo, Senior Officer
+358 29 531 2397
firstname.lastname(at)mavi.fi
 

Shingo Masuda, Forest Expert
+358 29 531 2408
firstname.lastname(at)mavi.fi 

www.mavi.fi

 

23.6.2016 

Call for Tenders from the European Commission: Support services for the EUTR and FLEGT 

Support services for implementing the EU Timber Regulation and FLEGT Regulation.

Provide support to the European Commission in assisting the EU Member States in monitoring the implementation and enforcement of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) and EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Regulation and in carrying out the specific tasks required from them by the Regulations, through monitoring trends in trade in timber and timber products, report preparation, compilation and analysis, monitoring implementation and enforcement measures, information to the public, and participation in meetings.                           

 

Tender reference number ENV.E.2/SER/2016/0020.
More about tender: https://etendering.ted.europa.eu/cft/cft-display.html?cftId=1568&locale=en 

Further information on the Agency for Rural Affairs:
Project planner Shingo Masuda
+358 (0)295 312 408
 

E-mail: firstname.lastname(at)mavi.fi
www.mavi.fi 

 

20.6.2016 

EUTR event focused on imported timber

On May 24, 2016, the Finnish Agency for Rural Affairs (Mavi) arranged an information blitz on the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) in the Pasila office centre. A large number of representatives of both importers and interest organisations attended the event. The event focused on topical EUTR issues, certification systems, and services provided by the monitoring organisations.

The regulation requires operators to set up a due diligence system. The requirement applies both to timber products imported to the EU area and to domestic logging. The event focused particularly on imported wood. The monitoring organisations presented their own systems that they provide to their customers. In addition, the representatives of the certification systems told about themselves and how they could be part of the due diligence system. The representatives of Mavi and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry talked about the status of the implementation of the regulation both in Finland and in other EU countries. 

The presentations of the information blitz can be found on the website of Mavi at:

Press releases and materials / Presentations in Finnish: EUTR-Awareness Day 24.05.2016 Presentations 

Further information on the Agency for Rural Affairs and the EU Timber Regulation:
Project planner Shingo Masuda
+358 (0)295 312 408

E-mail: firstname.lastname(at)mavi.fi

www.mavi.fi

 

3.6.2016 

Import and export licences to be required from fewer agricultural products – EORI number to become mandatory 

The Commission's new delegated regulation and implementing regulation will enter into force in autumn 2016. The regulatory reform will entail a remarkable reduction over the current level in the number of agricultural products requiring AGRIM import and AGREX export licences. The AGRIM and AGREX licences are import and export licences granted by the Finnish Agency for Rural Affairs for the import and export of agricultural products. In future, no import or export licences will be required for instance for grains such as oats, wheat, barley, rye and corn. 

Once the regulations have entered into force, an AGRIM import licence will only be required for certain trade denominations of rice, sugar, hemp, hemp seeds, ethanol of agricultural origin, garlic and other vegetables of the genus Allium and certain processed products including garlic and Allium ampeloprasum vegetables. An import licence will be required for sugar and garlic as well as processed products including garlic and Allium ampeloprasum vegetables until 30 September 2017. An AGREX export licence will in future be required from certain trade denominations of rice and sugar, but for the latter, an export licence will be required only until 30 September 2017. 

In addition to restrictions regarding agricultural products from which a licence is required, the new import and export regulations require the applicant, licence holder or the party to whom the rights under the licence are transferred, to have an EORI number. The Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) system is an EU-wide system for the registration and identification of economic operators.  

In Finland, the Customs is the authority responsible for EORI registrations, and Finnish companies are always registered in Finland. EORI application forms are available on the Customs website. For further information about EORI registrations, please contact the Customs Information Service, tel. +358 295 5200.  

The EORI number must be given in the application for import and export licences. When applying for transfer of licence rights, the transferee's EORI number must be indicated. If the declaration of products being released for free circulation or export is filed by a customs representative, the licence holder's or transferee's EORI number must be quoted in the customs declaration. 

The Commission's delegated regulation and implementing regulation with regard to the system of import and export licences are due for publication in the Official Journal of the European Union at the end of July. Thereafter, the regulations will be updated on the website of the Agency for Rural Affairs (www.mavi.fi). The regulations include more detailed information on the CN codes, amounts of security and periods of validity of the licences for products requiring standard licences.  

The regulations will become applicable three months after their publication, i.e. most likely in October–November. A reform of the regulations concerning tariff quotas is underway in the EU, and the related regulations will be reformed in due course in 2016–2017. 

For further information, please contact the Finnish Agency for Rural Affairs:
Senior Officer Tuija Jämbäck
+358 295 312 494
firstname.lastname(at)mavi.fi 

 

3.5.2016 

The EU Timber Regulation applies to timber harvested in Finland

 

The EU Timber Regulation has been in force since 3 March 2013. The Regulation forms part of a broad-based action plan aimed at developing the forest administration and preventing illegal logging worldwide. The requirements apply to both imported timber and timber harvested in Finland and operators placing timber and timber products on the EU market for the first time.  

As regards timber harvested in Finland, the forest owner is considered an operator for the purposes of the Regulation. The legality of Finnish timber is proven by current control systems laid down in the Finnish Forest Act. The Agency for Rural Affairs (Mavi) is the competent Finnish authority executing the Regulation and supervising compliance with its requirements. 

The due diligence system under the Regulation comprises access to information, risk assessment and risk mitigation. Such information helps to verify the legality of timber and its traceability in the supply chain. A forest use declaration together with the certificate of measurement on delivery constitute the due diligence system of the operator, i.e. the forest owner. The forest owner is obliged to store these documents for at least five years. If necessary, Mavi will require copies for the purposes of inspection. 

For further information, please contact the Finnish Agency for Rural Affairs:

Senior inspector Aaro Saarimäki
+358 295 31 2398
firstname.lastname(at)mavi.fi

www.mavi.fi

Direct link to the EU Timber Regulation website  

 

26.4.2016  

Lodging of export declarations for agricultural products from 1 May 2016  

The reform of customs legislation will involve changes in the lodging of export declarations from 1 May 2016. The key change is that exports of up to EUR 1,000 and 1,000 kg at a maximum may be declared to customs orally instead of with a written declaration. This only applies to the last office before exit and does not apply to goods subject to restrictions.

The Agency for Rural Affairs recommends that, to enable Customs to issue a decision on release with an exit confirmation, customers continue to lodge export declarations in writing to Customs for agricultural products that require an export licence. A decision on release with an exit confirmation is required as proof enabling the release of an export licence guarantee. The Electronic Service Centre of Customs delivers decisions on release with an exit confirmation issued electronically, in Finland, to the Agency for Rural Affairs.

For further information, please contact the Agency for Rural Affairs:
Tuija Jämbäck
Senior Officer
+358 295 312 494
firstname.lastname(at)mavi.fi 

 

17.3.2016 

Updated guidance document for the EU Timber Regulation has been published  

European Commission has updated the guidance document for the EU Timber Regulation on 12 February 2016. Latest version of guidance document can be found at webpage of the commission: 

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/forests/timber_regulation.htm 

Additional information from Finnish Agency for Rural Affairs:
Senior inspector Marko Lehtosalo
+358 295 31 2397
first name.last name(at)mavi.fi

www.mavi.fi 

 

16.3.2016 

First impact report of the Timber Regulation  

The European Commission published a report on 18 February 2016 on the impact and effectiveness of the EU Timber Regulation. The regulation has been applied since March 2013, and the report covers the first two years of its implementation. The report shows that the EU is heading in the right direction to combat illegal logging and associated trade in illegal timber. However, challenges remain in implementation. Read the report in full at:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/forests/eutr_report.htm 

For further information, contact the Finnish Agency for Rural Affairs:
Senior Officer Marko Lehtosalo
+358 29 531 2397
E-mail: firstname.lastname(at)mavi.fi

www.mavi.fi 

 

28.1.2016 

FLEGT licensing scheme to apply to the import of timber products from Indonesia 

The European Union and Indonesia are about to conclude negotiations on the import of timber products into the European Union. The negotiations relate to the EU FLEGT Action Plan, introduced to prevent illegal logging and illegal trade in wooden products. Indonesia is the first country about to conclude negotiations with the EU, conducted in order to introduce a FLEGT licensing scheme between the EU and Indonesia. According to the European Commission's latest status report, the first import shipments licensed under the FLEGT scheme could be sent from Indonesia in April 2016.  

At present, the dispatch documents of timber products sent from Indonesia already include V-Legal documents. For timber importers, this document constitutes proof of legality, ensuring that the shipment complies with Indonesia's national legality system. After the introduction of the FLEGT licensing scheme, the “FLEGT” label will be added to the document in question.  

Operators importing timber and timber products into the EU markets should review the current import documents before the introduction of the licensing scheme. Key issues related to checking the FLEGT licences include the product volume and weight covered by the licence. In particular, if a shipment contains both timber products and other products the commercial invoice should include an itemisation of the product volumes and weight. In addition, attention should be paid to the accuracy of the figures and volumes/weights in question.  

Information on the schedule for the introduction of the FLEGT licensing system and instructions for customers on issues related to the processing of licences is available on the website of the Finnish Agency for Rural Affairs (Mavi). Until the introduction of the licensing scheme, the requirements laid down in the EU Timber Regulation will apply to the import of timber products.  

In 2003, the European Union launched the EU FLEGT Action Plan to prevent illegal logging and illegal trade in wooden products. Of the several elements in the Action Plan, the EUTR (EU Timber Regulation) and the FLEGT licensing scheme, to be introduced at the end of 2016, are key issues. In Finland, the competent authority for both EUTR and the FLEGT licensing scheme is the Finnish Agency for Rural Affairs.  

 

For further information, contact the Finnish Agency for Rural Affairs:  

tuovi(at)mavi.fi
www.mavi.fi 

 

25.6.2015 

The Commission has recognised new monitoring organisations 

The European Commission has updated the list of recognised monitoring organisations  Monitoring Organisation_EN.pdf Monitoring Organisation_EN. All monitoring organisations on the list provide services in Finland.  

EUTR website of the European Commission  

Further information:
Marko Lehtosalo, Senior Inspector
+358 295 31 2397
firstname.lastname(at)mavi.fi
tuovi(at)mavi.fi 

 

30.4.2015 

IT costs under control at the Agency for Rural Affairs 

The administration of agriculture and rural subsidies is an IT-intensive activity. The functions and administrative services of the Agency for Rural Affairs are IT-based. For customers of the administration, these systems appear in the form of online services, such as the Vipu service for farmers or the Hyrrä system for project, business and structural support.

IT costs constitute the largest single item in the annual operating expenses of the Agency. The total operating expenses of the Agency in 2014 came to EUR 27.5 million, and IT accounted for about 54% of this.

We prepared for the new programming period in 2014 by renewing our IT systems. We built a new support application for the online administration of farmer subsidies and also engaged in development work in the online administration of project, enterprise and structural support. Customers of the support administration see these investments in the form of e-services. IT management at the Agency for Rural Affairs involves not only core systems but also interoperability services and technology platform services.

Lower costs than in Sweden 

A comparison of IT costs between Finland and other European countries shows that Finland spends clearly less money on these functions. For instance, the total cost of the application for farmer support administration and the development of e-services for farmers in Finland comes to EUR 12 million. In Sweden, the total budget for the comparable farmer support system is about three times as big.

The UK, however, has a budget many times the size of that of Finland or Sweden; the aim there has been to create an IT system to enable a farmer support system that runs entirely online. The UK budget amounts to nearly EUR 215 million. In March, introduction of the system in the UK was postponed because of technical problems; the current practice is to use paper forms for the most part, partly augmented with online services. 

ICT conference of EU paying agencies in Finland

The EU paying agencies are responsible for disbursing moneys from two European funds: the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. There are 81 paying agencies in Europe. In Finland, the Agency for Rural Affairs is the EU paying agency handling farmer support and enterprise and project support in rural areas.

ICT issues at paying agencies are regularly discussed at the Panta Rhei Conference of Paying Agencies. The purpose of these conferences is for ICT personnel at the paying agencies to be able to share information and experiences. The main goal is to improve the implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy of the EU.

This year, the Panta Rhei Conference is being held in Finland. The three-day conference at Levi from 4 to 6 June 2015 will bring together about 100 ICT experts from European paying agencies besides representatives of the European Commission and the European Court of Auditors. The start of the new programming period and the implementation of support systems will be at the top of the agenda. Information safety and IT strategies will also be discussed. The conference is being organised by the Agency for Rural Affairs.  

Further information:
Leena Tenhola, Director-General
0295 31 2448

Jani Alkava, IT Manager
0295 31 2314
firstname.lastname(at)mavi.fi 

 

15.4.2014 

The European Commission has recognised two more EU Timber Regulation monitoring organisations 

The European Commission has recognised two more monitoring organisations in accordance with the Timber Regulation. The two newly recognised monitoring organisations are Bureau Veritas and Control Union. Both of these offer services in all parts of the European Union.

A list of monitoring organisations has been published in the C series of the European Union’s Official Journal and on the Commission’s website.

EUTR website of the European Commission  

EUTR on the website of the Finnish Agency for Rural Affairs 

Further information:
Marko Lehtosalo, Senior Inspector
+358 295 31 2397
firstname.lastname(at)mavi.fi 
tuovi(at)mavi.fi

 
 

15.10.2013 

The Agency for Rural Affairs meets basic data security requirements

The Agency for Rural Affairs has achieved the basic data security level specified in the state administration data security regulation. The regulation defines the data security requirements and data material categorisation protection levels for document processing.

The Government Decree on information security in central government (681/2010) took effect on 1 October 2010. The regulation includes stipulations regarding transition periods. According to these stipulation, the authority's data processing shall meet the basic data security requirements within three years from when the regulation took effect. The deadline was 30 September 2013.

The Agency for Rural Affairs will continue to develop its operations to meet the next data security level. There is an ongoing five-year transition period to meet the higher data security level. The deadline is 16 June 2016.

For more details:
Safety Manager Pekka Raisio
+358 20 7725 618
firstname.lastname(at)mavi.fi 

 

7.10.2013 

The first EU Timber Regulation monitoring organisations recognised 

The European Commission has recognised the first monitoring organisations in accordance with the Timber Regulation. A list of monitoring organisations has been published in the C series of the European Union’s Official Journal and on the Commission’s website. So far, the Commission has recognised two monitoring organisations. Of these, NEPCon offers services in all parts of the European Union. 

Monitoring organisations help organisations which import or trade in timber and timber products or own forests to fulfil the requirements set out in the Timber Regulation. For this purpose, the monitoring organisations prepare a due diligence system, grant operators the right to use the system and ensure that the system is used correctly.

Traceability of timber required

The Timber Regulation requires that operators use a due diligence system to ensure the legal origin of timber and timber products. The due diligence system includes measures that allow the origin of timber and timber products to be traced and yield information on whether the timber is of legal origin. Operators may use their own systems or systems provided by monitoring organisations approved by the European Commission.

 For a Finnish forest owner, due diligence consists of a forest use declaration together with a certificate of inspection and measurement on delivery. In Åland, the forest owners’ system consists of a forest regeneration permit, notification of thinning and a measurement certificate.

Timber Regulation minimises use of illegal timber

The EU Timber Regulation came into force on 3 March 2013. The purpose of the Regulation is to prevent illegal timber and timber products from entering the markets of the European Union.

The Timber Regulation will apply to timber harvested and timber products produced within the EU, as well as those imported to the EU. The Regulation will apply to raw timber and timber products such as sawn timber, plywood, cardboard, furniture, pulp and paper. 

 
 

31.10.2012 

EU timber regulation to be imposed as of March 2013 

 

The EU wants to prevent the entry and use of illegal timber and its refined products in the EU. Illegal timber is timber and wood products harvested, transported or sold in the country of origin in violation of national laws. EU timber regulation (EUTR 995/2010) will be applied in EU countries as of 3 March 2013. 

The EU Timber Regulation is based on the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) EU scheme. In Finland, the Agency for Rural Affairs will perform official tasks related to applying the regulation. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is currently preparing national legislation concerning the application of the regulation. 

Who and what does it apply? 

The Timber Regulation will be applied to timber harvested in the EU and timber imported to the EU. EU laws set timber and wood product importers and salespeople in a responsible position. When timber and wood products enter the EU market for the first time, the supplier shall ensure that there are no products there, the manufacture of which has used illegal raw material. The regulation applies to the importers (operators) of timber and wood products reaching the EU market for the first time, and within the EU, to traders who deal timber and wood products. 

The regulation will be applied to raw wood and timber products such as plywood, cardboard, furniture, pulp and paper. The regulation will not be applied to recycled products, cane, bamboo, or printed paper, such as books, magazines and papers.  

What does the regulation obligate you to do? 

Timber and wood product importers, i.e. operators shall use the due diligence system when supplying wood products to the EU market. The system includes procedures and steps defined in the regulation. They can be used to minimise the risk of illegally harvested timber or products made of illegally harvested timber entering the EU market. Operators must compile information about the product, its sources and legality. Based on the information, the operator must perform a risk assessment and sufficient steps (when necessary) to mitigate the risk. 

The operator may use their system or systems provided by EC approved monitoring organisations. Operators must regularly maintain and assess their due diligence system unless the operator uses a system provided by a monitoring organisation. 

To ensure origin tracing, traders dealing timber and wood products must keep records of their suppliers and customers. The information about suppliers and customers must be retained for at least five years. 

Regulation control and sanctions 

Each EU state appoints a competent authority to control compliance with the regulation. The Agency for Rural Affairs is the competent Finnish authority in the implementation of the regulation.

EU states will later decide the sanctions of breaking the law. The regulation says that examples include fines, confiscation of wood and timber and cancellation of import permits. 

The use of illegal timber and wood products is a significant and an increasing problem at the global level. The impact is biological, financial and social. Illegal felling has a significant impact on deforestation, climate change and the reduction of biological diversity. They also weaken the competitive status of law-abiding operators in export and import countries and cause considerable loss of income for states. They also prevent sustainable development in developing countries, they are used for funding warfare and they may also involve serious violation of human rights. 

For more information, please contact the Agency for Rural Affairs:
Marko Lehtosalo, Senior Inspector, +358 20 7725 825
E-mail: forename.surname(at)mavi.fi 
tuovi(at)mavi.fi  

More information about the regulation on the Agency’s site:

Timber regulation (EU 995/2010) on the EC site

EC implementing regulation (EU 607/2012)