Supporting Legal Timber Trade in Vietnam (January 2018)

News Highlights

Export of timber products exceeds the plan for 2020 
( – 8 billion USD worth of timber products were exported for the first time in 2017. This surprised some because this number was the estimated for 2020, so the target was achieved three years early.  The timber industry is also expecting that in 2018 the Free Trade Agreement with the EU will be approved, which will increase the export surplus. In 2020, the Vietnamese timber export value is expected to increase to over 10 billion USD.

The VPA is not only about documents on timber’s origin
( – It is expected that in 2018, the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (FLEGT VPA) between Vietnam and the EU will be ratified. Implementing the FLEGT VPA between Vietnam and the EU will make fundamental changes in the timber processing industry in Vietnam as the Government of Vietnam is committed to the legally use and export of timber products. So, even if the material is of legal origin but the producer does not pay full tax or insufficiently pay the insurance, the timber product is not considered legal.

It is necessary to formalise the production and business activities in timber processing villages
On 19th Jan 2018, in Hanoi, VIFORES and Forest Trends organised the workshop “Timber processing villages in the context of integration: Situation and policy options for sustainable development”. Here, experts discussed and evaluated the business situations of the villages. Currently, more than 74.5% of households in the villages are not registered as formal businesses, using materials from unclear sources, and there is a lack of information on the policy mechanism, so it is difficult to export their products. Therefore, many participants recommended that the best policy option for households in the current timber processing villages, especially in the context of integration, is to support the formalisation of these households, to help them meet requirements for timber legality.

Indonesia Has a Carrot to End Illegal Logging; Now It Needs a Stick
(WRI) – While the Indonesian government has taken steps in recent years to crack down on illegal logging, it’s clear that ending illicit activity in the country’s forests will require a more concerted effort. Although FLEGT licensing has been providing an economic incentive to producers to source from sustainably managed forests, it needs to be complemented with more rigorous law enforcement to curb Indonesia’s illegal logging problem.

Scandal of luxury yachts built in the UK with illegitimate Burmese teak
(EIA) – As the London Boat Show opened earlier this month, Britain’s Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) warned that two of the show’s main exhibitors could be selling boats that contain illegal teak from Myanmar. EIA’s research reveals that Burmese teak entering the supply chains of the UK’s two largest yacht builders was traded in breach of the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR).




From 29th January 2018 to 24th April 2018: Public Consultation on the product scope of the EU Timber Regulation. For more information:

From 28th February 2018 to 2nd March 2018:  Responsible Timber Trade Fair in Ghana, a unique international event. This is the first international timber trade fair dedicated to promoting the trade of 100% legal and certified timber. For more information:

15th March 2018: Free international conference: Sourcing Legal Timber 2.0 organised by NEPCon, near London. For more information and registration:



January 2018: Briefing note on the implementation of the EU Timber Regulations, August 2017 – October 2017 (UNEP-WCMC). Download at:

January 2018: Report “Vietnam’s timber processing villages in the context of integration: Current Situation and Policy Options for sustainable development” (Forest Trends và VIFORES). Download at:

January 2018: New website and newsletter from FLEGT Independent Market Monitor (IMM). The IMM’s role is to use trade flow analysis and market research to independently assess trade and market impacts of FLEGT VPAs in the EU and partner countries. For more information: 

January 2018: Go Viet Magazine no. 97 – Jan and Feb – 2018. Download at:





18th– 19th December 2017: Workshop and training on “Participatory and Coordination Support Mechanism for Effective Implementation of VPA for CSOs” was held in Hue with the participation of 35 participants from many CSOs in the VNGOs-FLEGT network, who have been participating in the process of negotiating the Voluntary Partnership Agreement, Regional Small and Medium Enterprises, and related agencies. The purpose of the workshop was to provide up-to-date information on timber trade and the role of stakeholders, and to build a CSO-Business-Community network through multi-stakeholder groups. Information at: