Supporting Legal Timber Trade in Vietnam (February 2018)

News Highlights

Vietnam International Furniture & Home Accessories Fair 2018
Vietnam International Furniture & Home Accessories Fair (VIFA – EXPO 2018) was held from March 7th to March 10th at the Saigon Exhibition & Convention Center (SECC) with nearly 2,000 booths on a total area of 30,000 m2, which is 29% bigger than 2017. In addition, visitors from 80 countries and territories registered. HAWA’s manager predicts that this year, Vietnam’s timber and NTFP exports will reach 9 billion USD. Particularly, the export of wood and wood products could reach 8.66 billion USD.

The target of 9 billion USD in 2018
(QĐND) – In 2017, the export of timber and forest products reached 8 billion USD for the first time. In 2018, the goal for wood and forest products export is 9 billion USD. This is an interview with the General Directorate of Vietnam Administration of Forestry (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) about the development direction of forestry sector in 2018 and the following years.

UK operator fined for failing to exercise due diligence when importing timber
British timber operator Hardwood Dimensions (Holdings) Ltd has been fined £4,000 for breaching regulations prohibiting the importing and sale of illegally harvested timber. Hardwood Dimensions failed to check the legality of a batch of timber from Cameroon when placing it on the market, breaching regulations requiring businesses trading in timber and timber products in the UK to ensure that their products originate from legal sources.

Where does your timber come from? Genetic analysis may soon tell you
( Researchers have identified a genetic analysis technique that pinpoints the harvest location of trees—a breakthrough that could help officials detect illegally traded timber. The multi-national research team tested the potential of two kinds of genetic analysis to differentiate the geographic origin of timber samples at the scale of individual forest concessions.

RA-Cert and NEPCon Announce Intent to Join
After two decades of close partnership, NEPCon and RA-Cert (the certification division of the Rainforest Alliance), the world’s two leading non-profit certification bodies, have announced their intention to join later this year. The transaction is subject to agreement on final terms, which the parties expect to finalise later this year. The combined organisation, which will operate under the name of NEPCon, will continue to offer services that both NEPCon and RA-Cert have been delivering in forestry, agriculture, responsible sourcing, biomass, carbon footprinting, and tourism.





April 2018: Have your say! The NEPCon Sourcing Hub has now been live for six months. In that time, more than 25,000 users have accessed the site! We want to hear from you about what you like about the Sourcing Hub, what you think we can do differently, and how we can better meet your needs to make responsible sourcing decisions. The survey is short – we don’t expect it to take any more than 10 minutes to give us your feedback and we will keep all your answers confidential. Access the survey here:




January 2018: Information about Legality Assurance System of Vietnam (VNTLAS). Watch the video at: 

January 2018: Information about Legal Definitions (LD) – an integral part of the VNTLAS. Watch the video at:

February 2018: Summary report of “Feasibility analysis of the incorporation of timber legality requirements” into Chinese laws or regulations to promote trade in legal forest products. Information at:

February 2018: “A Tale of Two Laws” – A report demonstrating how European Union and US legislation can be used together to better combat illegal timber trade. Download at:  

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

March 2018: NEPCon’s ‘Sourcing Legal Timber 2.0’ Conference was held in the UK on 15th March 2018, show casing guest speakers from all sectors. Recordings of the sessions are available to view and presentation slides available to download at:




5th January 2018: The Center for People and Forests coordinated with the Forest Production Development Department – Vietnam Administration of Forestry to organise a stakeholder consultation workshop on Sustainable Forest Management Policy Review in Vietnam. For more information:

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:

Supporting Legal Timber Trade in Vietnam (December 2017)

News Highlights

Imports and exports of wood products in 2017: Opportunity from the FLEGT VPA
(Gỗ Việt) – The Government of Vietnam and the EU have officially initialled the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (FLEGT VPA). Signing the VPA is a particularly important event, which can create fundamental changes for Vietnam’s timber processing industry. It will not only affect Vietnam’s markets for wood products but also the supplying countries to Vietnam.

Difficulties in the traceability of forest products
( – There are still many domestic timber processing and exporting enterprises that are very confused and do not understand what timber legality and traceability is. Difficulties in the traceability of forest products are also common in many handicraft villages, as well as small timber processing enterprises in many provinces.

Reforms to Australia’s illegal logging laws
On 5th October 2017, the Australian Government announced reforms to the Illegal Logging Prohibition Regulation 2012 (the Regulation). These reforms will streamline and clarify the associated ‘due diligence’ requirements. Additionally, from 1st January 2018, businesses and individuals may face penalties for breaches of the Regulation’s due diligence requirements

FLEGT is big, says Director General for the Environment
( – In this exclusive interview with the European Timber Trade Federation, European Commission Director General for the Environment Daniel Calleja Crespo describes the first year of FLEGT licensing by Indonesia as a great start. Now, he says, it’s the responsibility of all stakeholders to capitalise on the opportunities presented by this unique timber legality initiative and to take the wider EU FLEGT Action Plan forward.

Congo and the EU adopt tools to implement their Agreement on illegal logging
( – The Republic of Congo and the European Union (EU) have adopted a five-year plan for the implementation of their Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) aimed at eliminating illegal logging. The new five-year action plan for the implementation of VPA 2018-2022, as well as an Annual Work Plan for the year 2018, were adopted by Congo and the EU at the meeting of the Joint Implementation Committee (JIC) of the VPA, which met in Brazzaville on 5th December 2017.




December 2017: Indonesia and the EU released annual report for 2016 (May 2015 – Dec 2016) on the Implementation of the Indonesia-EU FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement. Download at:

December 2017: NewsletterEUTR News – September to November 2017” (ClientEarth Forests). Download at:

December 2017: Newsletter “EU Forest Watch 231 – December 2017” (FERN). Download at:

December 2017: Go Viet Magazine no. 96 – December 2017. Download at:




22nd November 2017: Workshop on “International Requirements on Timber Production – Opportunities and Challenges for Handicraft Village” held in Bac Ninh with the participation of experts from the Center for Education and Development (CED), small and medium enterprises of Dong Ky Wood Association and many enterprises in Bac Ninh province. The workshop aims to strengthen capacity and guide businesses in the steps required to meet timber legality requirements, in compliance with FLEGT VPA requirements. More information at:

19th December 2017: In Ho Chi Minh City, the Project on Development of Forestry Management Information System – Phase II organised a workshop to introduce the unified information management of processing industry of the forestry sector in Vietnam. More information at:

Supporting Legal Timber Trade in Vietnam (November 2017)

News Highlights

Forestry law gets approval from the National Assembly
On the morning of 15th November 2017, the National Assembly approved the Forest Law with nearly 88% of the votes. This new law comes into force on 1st January 2019 and is expected to overcome current limitations in forest protection as well as export of wooden products. The Forest Law will replace the Law on Forest Protection and Development no. 29/2004 / QH11, with new provisions in comparison with the current law, not only in forest management and protection but also in export activities.

High praise indeed: UK timber traders wish to maintain EUTR and FLEGT
(FERN) – In the uncertain process of Brexit, and despite some concerns of the UK timber traders and manufacturers about the EU Timber Regulation’s (EUTR) uneven enforcement across Member States and delays in implementation of FLEGT VPAs, the UK timber industry still wish the EUTR and FLEGT VPA initiative to be maintained.

Designer furniture retailer Lombok becomes first UK company to be fined under illegal logging laws
( – Another case of a fine under the EUTR, the first case in the UK: The retailer Lombok was prosecuted at Westminster Magistrates Court and fined £5,000 plus costs, for failing to exercise the required due diligence to ensure that items it had sourced from India were made out of wood from legal sources.



New Documents

15th November 2017: Circular No. 23/2017/TT-BNNPTNT dated 15/11/2017 of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on replanting forests when changing forest use purpose to other purposes. Download at:

28th November 2017: Circular No. 12/VBHN-BNNPTNT dated 28/11/2017 on the main harvest and utilisation of forest products (consolidated text of Circular No. 21/2016/TT-BNNPTNT and Circular No. 17/2017/TT-BNPTNT). Download at:




October 2017: Brief comparison of illegal logging laws in the EU, the US, Australia and Japan (ClientEarth). Download at:

November 2017: ForestWatch VPA Update November 2017: A year on from FLEGT licensing (LoggingOff and Fern). Download at:

November 2017: ManualIllegal Logging Best Practices Resource Guide” (APEC). Download at:

November 2017: Report “Forest Governance in Vietnam: a literature review” (FERN, CRD, FORLAND, SRD). Download at:

November 2017: Report “The Rosewood Racket” (EIA). Download at:

November 2017: Report “Buyers in Good Faith” (Global Witness). Download at:




24th November 2017: The Agro Processing and Market Development Authority (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) cooperated with Ho Chi Minh City Handicraft and Wood Industry Association (HAWA) to organise the workshop “The US and EU markets’ regulations: Improve the enterprises’ capacity to response to market”. For more information:

24th November 2017: The Embassy of Finland in Vietnam and ActionAid Vietnam organised a workshop on plantations and the timber trade in Hanoi. Participants discussed the results of the ActionAid Vietnam survey on the status of forests and wood processing industry. The participants came up with solutions such as standard setting for wooden material, a coordination mechanism between wood enterprises and the raw material market, the development of supporting industries for forest product processing and the development and implementation of the Timber Legality Assurance System in Vietnam. More information at: 

30th November 2017: Indonesia and the EU held a conference to celebrate the first anniversary of the scheme licensing certified legal timber products that Indonesia exports to the EU. Indonesia has shipped verified legal timber and timber products worth more than 1 billion Euros to the EU since it began issuing such products with FLEGT licences one year ago. More information at:

Supporting Legal Timber Trade in Vietnam (October 2017)

News Highlights

Belgium facing legal action for breaking illegal logging law
(ClientEarth) – The European Commission has launched legal action against Belgium because it is breaking the EU’s law against illegal logging. This is the first time the Commission has taken action against an EU Member State for not enforcing the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) properly.

Preventive measure issued against two Dutch companies for breaching the EU timber regulation
The Netherlands food and consumer product safety authority (NVWA) has issued a preventive measure against two companies which place teak from Myanmar on the European market. The companies import teak from Myanmar and do not comply with the EU timber regulation. The companies must pay a sum of money for every teak shipment.

Lessons and inspiration from Indonesia’s FLEGT experience
( – Indonesia was not the only one to celebrate its FLEGT licensing launch last year. Other tropical timber exporters engaged in the FLEGT VPA process en route to licensing welcomed the news too. They see Indonesia’s success not just as inspirational, but providing lessons from which they can learn.



New Documents

20th October 2017: Document no. 8882/BNN-TCLN dated 20/10/2017 about main harvesting, salvage harvesting and salvage collection from damaged protection plantations. Download at:

24th October 2017: Draft Law on Forest Protection and Development (revised) submitted to the National Assembly for approval. Download at:




October 2017: Stakeholder consultation on Standard Development Procedure in Vietnam Forest Certification System. For more information:




October 2017: Briefing: Introduction to China’s Timber Legality Verification System (EU FLEGT Facility). Read at:

October 2017: Briefing: A comparison of the Japanese Clean Wood Act and the EU Timber Regulation (EU FLEGT Facility). Read at:

October 2017: Bulletin: Woodchip exports from Vietnam: Market developments until the end of June 2017 – Forest Trends, Association of Vietnam Timber and Forest Product (VIFORES), Forest Products Association of Binh Dinh (FPA Bình Định), Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of Ho Chi Minh City (HAWA). Download at:

October 2017: Report: Timber and timber products exports from Vietnam in the first half of 2017 – Forest Trends, Association of Vietnam Timber and Forest Product (VIFORES), Forest Products Association of Binh Dinh (FPA Bình Định), Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of Ho Chi Minh City (HAWA). Download at:




22nd -23rd September 2017: The legality of timber and timber products was a recurrent theme at the Fourth World Wood-Based Panels Conference that took place from 22-23 September 2017, in Linyi, China. The China National Forest Products Industry Association (CNFPIA) formally released China’s timber legality verification standard at the opening of the Conference. This voluntary standard sets out the requirements for timber legality for CNFPIA member companies. For more information:

6th October 2017: Association of Vietnam Timber and Forest Product (VIFORES), Forest Products Association of Binh Dinh (FPA Bình Định), Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of Ho Chi Minh City (HAWA) in collaboration with Forest Trends organised the workshop “Wood and wooden products imports and exports in Vietnam: New developments in the market” in Hanoi. For more information:

6th October 2017: Vietnam Administration of Forestry and Vietnam Academy of Forest Sciences organised a stakeholder consultation workshop for the two national standards on Sustainable Forest Management and Chain of Custody. This is the second consultation workshop after the 1st draft of the standards has been revised according to the first consultation workshop in Hue on 25th July 2017. For more information:

18th-21st October 2017: VietnamWood Expo – The 12th International Woodworking Industry Fair to be held at Saigon Exhibition & Convention Center (SECC). This is the largest Woodworking Exhibition in Vietnam, which is the most effective platform for entrepreneurs in the woodworking industry to connect and discover new business opportunities. For more information:

Supporting Legal Timber Trade in Vietnam (September 2017)

News Highlights

Combating Illegal Logging and Associated Trade within the framework of APEC’s Third Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM 3)
From 18th to 22nd August 2017, the 12th meeting of APEC’s Expert Group on Illegal Logging and Associated Trade (EGILAT12) and other related workshops within the framework of the Third Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM 3) were held in Ho Chi Minh City. APEC economies account for about 53% of the world’s forest area, 60% of total timber production, and 80% of total global timber products trade. On the side-line of the EGIALT12, Vietnam and the United States jointly organised a successful workshop on “Customs Best Practices to Identify Illegal Timber and Wood Products” on August 18th-19th.

Forest Governance: How Indonesia and Vietnam are Responding to Illegal Logging
(Chatham House) – Illegal logging and the associated trade is a major cause of deforestation and forest degradation globally. Indonesian and Vietnamese experts from the government, private and civil society sectors spoke about the state of the trade in both southeast Asian countries. Especially, experts from Vietnam shared with Chatham House about how Vietnam has responded to illegal logging since signing a Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the European Union in 2017.

FSC Controlled Wood requirements updated to better comply with the EU Timber Regulation
FSC changed its requirements on the use of risk assessments for illegally harvested wood for sourcing Controlled Wood on 30th June 2017. FSC updated the requirements for Controlled Wood so that they better meet the requirements of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR).

Protection forest being cleared for acacia plantation in Quang Nam
( – Many areas of protection forests in Tien Lanh Commune (Quang Nam Province) were cut down and burned for acacia plantation, since acacia plantations have high economic value in recent years. These forest areas are under the management of the Protection Forest Management Board of Tien Phuoc District, who contracted local people for protecting the forests.



New Documents

11th September 2017: Circular no. 17/2017/TT-BNNPTNT of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to revise Circular no. 21/2016/TT-BNNPTNT the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, on harvesting, extraction and salvage of forest products. Download at:




Quarter 4/2017: A series of free training workshops at 12 countries in the EU on new risk assessments and tools for EU Timber Regulation due diligence. For more information:

18th-21st October 2017: VietnamWood Expo – The 12th International Woodworking Industry Fair to be held at Saigon Exhibition & Convention Center (SECC). This is the largest Woodworking Exhibition in Vietnam, which is the most effective platform for entrepreneurs in the woodworking industry to connect and discover new business opportunities. For more information:




August 2017:  Biennial Review of the World Timber Situation – ITTO. Download at:

September 2017: Briefing note for the Competent Authorities implementing the EU Timber Regulation – UNEP-WCMC. Download at:

September 2017: EUTR News – June to August 2017 – ClientEarth. Download at:

September 2017: Go Viet Magazine – no. 93. Download at:




06th September 2017: The Vietnam Administration of Forestry organised the Conference on Consultation for the Sixth Draft of the Law on Forest Protection and Development (revised) in Hanoi. For more information:

07-08th September 2017: In Hanoi, the Department of Foreign Affairs (Ministry of Public Security) in collaboration with CITES Authority in Vietnam, and the UK Embassy organised the “Conference on tackling illegal wildlife trade”. At the workshop, stakeholders shared their experiences and discussed detailed solutions to tackle illegal wildlife trade in each country and globally. For more information:

Supporting Legal Timber Trade in Vietnam (August 2017)

News Highlights

New timber risk assessments help companies source legal wood 
( – On Aug 24th, NEPCon released the Sourcing Hub, the biggest and most detailed collection of forest-related risk assessments that have ever been published. The Sourcing Hub helps companies meet due diligence requirements of market regulation such as the EU Timber Regulation. The Hub contains assessments of the risks of illegal timber production and trade in 62 countries, covering 87% of global timber production.

Proposal to ban export of logs and sawn timber from plantations and rubber plantations to protect domestic raw materials 
( – In response to VNFOREST’s letter on the impacts of a proposed policy to temporarily ban the export of logs and sawn timber from plantations and rubber plantations, Binh Dinh Timber and Forest Product Association has announced that it fully supports the policy. Accordingly, banning the export of raw timber materials in the form of logs and rough sawn timber will have a positive impact on the manufacturing activities of timber processing enterprises because it will ensure the supply of raw materials from stable and sustainable plantations. These materials will be available for processing high value added products to meet the requirements on quality, price and delivery schedule of customers, especially from the EU, Australia and US markets.

Vietnamese businesses say “no” to illegal timber
(TTXVN) – As the matter of environmental protection, social security and sustainable forest ecosystems, the management of timber resources is a concern of many countries. For this reason, the fight against the illegal timber trade requires multinational cooperation; especially, customs authorities in many countries are working closely to prevent the illegal trade and transportation. MFurniture exporters in Vietnam must say no to illegal materials, especially when exporting to the US, Europe and Australia.

Chinese timber enterprises “sweep” the Vietnamese wood 
( – Talking with media on the concerns about Chinese timber enterprises in Vietnam which poses a challenge to Vietnamese businesses as they have to compete for timber materials, and there is dumping threat of timber products exported from Vietnam, Mr. Nguyen Ton Quyen, Chairman of the Vietnam Timber and Forest Products Association (VIFORES), said that the Association had made many recommendations to the Government on controlling foreign-direct investments from China and banning exports of raw materials but no response so far.




August 2017: The EU Timber Regulation implementation and enforcement updates. Download at:

August 2017:  Thematic article “Fake documents: how to spot them and what to do about them” developed by NEPCon. The article is part of a series about the EU Timber Regulation that we’re publishing as part of our project ‘Support Legal Timber Trade’. Download at:

August 2017: Briefing note “Independent Forest Monitoring: a chance for improved governance in VPA countries?” – FERN. Download at:

August 2017: ITTO Tropical Timber Market Report – Volume 21 Number 15 (1 –15 August 2017). Access at: 




26th July 2017: At Hue city, Vietnamese Academy of Forest Sciences (VAFS) and WWF Vietnam organised the inception workshop to launch the project “Supporting Small-Scale Forest Owners in sustainable forest management, and legal timber control in Vietnam”, with the financial support from the German Ministry of Agriculture and Food (BMEL). For more information:

10th August 2017: In Hanoi, the Center for People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) held a workshop on “Closing Natural Forests in Vietnam:  Effectiveness of implementation and Legislation Requirement?”, where organisations and individuals discussed and commented on the usage of the term “natural forest closure”: its definition and relevant provisions in the revised Forestry Law (clause 6.1) to ensure that this concept will help Vietnam achieve the goals of ending illegal forest destruction, conservation and sustainable forest management. For more information:

16th August 2017: The Center for People and Forests coordinated with partners to launch the Inception Workshop on “Strengthening Voices of Non-State Participants to Improve Forest Management in the Mekong Region” (Voices for Mekong – V4MF) in Hanoi; with the project’s aim for sustainable forest management, forest landscape management which must be based on a holistic, inclusive and non-governmental approach. The project is funded by the European Union, and is implemented in the region covering five countries in Mekong region (Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam). For more information:

23-25th August 2017: VIFA WoodMac Vietnam 2017 was held at Binh Duong Convention and Exhibition Centre. This fair attracted 420 booths of more than 100 domestic and foreign enterprises; 53% of which exhibiting woodworking machinery; 23% exhibiting raw timber materials and 17% exhibiting accessories. For more information:

Supporting Legal Timber Trade in Vietnam (July 2017)

News Highlights

EU and Thailand hold first talks on forest governance and legal timber trade deal
( – Thailand and the European Union (EU) have held their first negotiations towards a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) to improve forest governance and promote trade in verified legal timber products. The negotiations took place in Bangkok on 29 and 30 June 2017 and focused on technical issues — including the draft VPA product scope and legality definition, as well as Thailand’s initial ideas on supply chain controls and mechanisms for verifying the legality of timber and timber products.

One year of natural forest closure: The forests are still devastated
( – It has been one year since the Prime Minister officially declared “the closure of natural forest” in the Central Highlands as well as nationwide. However, law infringements in forest protection are still happening and become complicated. In many places, the forests are still destroyed.

CITES requirements – challenges for timber exporters?
( –  Regarding Circular 04/2017 of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on the promulgation of the list of wild fauna and flora species regulated in the annexes of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), according to Pham Hong Thai- Director of Quang Binh’s Forest Protection Department, this document only regulates the list of wild fauna and flora species specified in the Appendices of CITES. So, although this is a new legal requirement in Vietnam, it is actually international law that we must follow.

Watershed forests cleared for plantations 
( – Plantations are considered a stable source of raw materials for the domestic furniture industry, so that we do not have to rely on the import of wood materials. However, clearing of allocated forest land to plant acacia is an alarming situation in Son Kim 1, Son Kim 2 Commune, Huong Son District (Ha Tinh).

Helping Indonesian craftsmen go global, sustainably
(CIFOR) – Mechanisms to ensure wood is legally sourced are essential to conserve forests, and can also help small businesses expand exports, thereby increasing incomes. In this article, CIFOR scientist Herry Purnomo discusses the importance of this pioneering certification system for small industry, livelihoods and forests in Indonesia.




June 2017: Report “Assessment of the initial status of compliance with legal timber definition at household level in Viet Nam” by VNGO-FLEGT Network. See at:

June 2017:  Report “Assessment of household’s compliance with regulations in harvesting, trading, transporting and processing plantation timber in Thanh Son District, Phu Tho Province” by VNGO-FLEGT Network. See at:

June 2017: Paper on “Timber-Sourcing from Fragile and Conflict-Affected States” – Forest Trends. Download at:

July 2017: Leaflet “EUTR supplier relation leaflet” – NEPCon. Download at:

July 2017: Bulletin EU Forest Watch 227 – FERN. See at:




13th June 2017: To assist Vietnam’s wood and handicraft enterprises in reaching and boosting their exports to the EU market, updating the trends and regulations, purchasing practices of European importers, the Representative Office of Trade Promotion Department in HCMC in collaboration with the HCMC Handicraft and Wood Industry Association organised the conference “Promote the export of wood and handicraft products to the EU market”, within the framework of the EU-MUTRAP. For more information:

Supporting Legal Timber Trade in Vietnam (June 2017)

News Highlights


The EU demands timber traded in Vietnam to be legal
(TBKTSG Online) – To export wood products to the European Union (EU) market, Vietnam must ensure that timber products processed and traded within the country are legal. According to the requirements of VPA/FLEGT, Vietnam will not only ensure that timber harvesting locally is legal, but also has to commit itself to developing legal procedures and regulations to prevent timber harvested illegally abroad from entering the Vietnamese supply chain.


Vietnam pledges to investigate massive illegal logging violations as international pressure grows
( – Following a major undercover investigation by an environmental watchdog organisation into illegal logging practices in Cambodia and Vietnam, the Vietnamese government says it plans to investigate.


The need to have new forestry laws 
(Daibieunhandan) – Currently, the Law on Forest Protection and Development, which was first issued in 1991, has revealed some limitations, which make it no longer relevant to the present development situation. Therefore, this should be revised to become a new Forestry Law with the scope covering the whole forest value chain including forest management, protection and use, timber processing, trading and services, to bring out the full potential for sustainable forest development, effective forest management and international integration.


Solve the problem for timber exporting enterprises
Early June, some enterprises in Ha Tinh Province reported that they had legally imported a large amount of high value timbers (Techicai Sitan, Rose wood, …) from Laos for export. However, according to Circular No. 04/2017/ T-BNNPTNT dated 24/2/2017 of MARD (promulgated the list of wild animal and plant species regulated according to appendices of CITES), these logs, which were imported a long time ago, are required to have CITES permits to be exported, making it difficult for businesses. In this regard, Vietnam Administration of Forestry had an official reply.


Dutch court ruling helps curb illegal timber trade  
(Forest Trends) – An administrative court in the Netherlands last week ruled on an EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) case involving the import of timber from Cameroon. This is the first time a European court has explicitly ruled that Operators in the EU must not only undertake meaningful Due Diligence but must also be able to supply documentary proof of compliance with the EUTR on request. The court concluded that it is not sufficient for Operators to rely solely on government paperwork as evidence of meaningful Due Diligence when importing from countries with significant risk of corruption and documented illegal logging.



New Documents


June 2017: Full text of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement between Vietnam and the EU (Vietnamese translation) – Download at:





Quarter 4/2017:  A series of free training workshops at 12 countries in the EU on new risk assessments and tools for EU Timber Regulation due diligence. For more information:





June 2017: Briefing “A chance for change: A civil society briefing on the Voluntary Partnership Agreement negotiations between Vietnam and the European Union” (FERN). Download at:


June 2017: Report: “Sustainable development of the Vietnamese timber industry: Eliminate high risk imported timber from the supply chain”. Download at:


June 2017: Publication “Protecting the rights of households and communities to natural forests” – PanNature. Access at: 


June 2017: Briefing Note for the Competent Authorities implementing the EU Timber Regulation – April 2017 – May 2017 (UNEP-WCMC). Access at:


June 2017:  EU Forest Watch 226 (June 2017) by FERN. Download at:


June 2017: Forest Watch VPA Update June 2017: The future of FLEGT, what will the EU prioritise? – published by LoggingOff and FERN. Access at:


June 2017: EUTR News – March to May 2017 (ClientEarth). Download at:


June 2017:  Go Viet Magazine – no. 90. Download at:





27th May 2017: Workshop on “The role and participation of Civil Social Organisations in VPA / FLEGT: negotiation process and the next plan”, jointly organised by Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations, Department of Science, Technology and Environment of the National Assembly, and the VNGOs-FLEGT Network. For more information:


21st – 22nd June 2017: 27th Illegal Logging Update and Stakeholder Consultation Meeting at Chatham House. The meeting brought together more than 250 participants from civil society, industry and governments from around the world and provided an update on global efforts to improve forest governance and reduce illegal logging. Download presentations, including those given by representatives from Vietnam, at:

The presentations on Vietnam include the following:

  • Nguyen Tuong Van, Forestry Administration of Vietnam – Vietnam’s VPA key commitments and implementation framework
  • Vu Thi Bich Hop, Centre for Sustainable Rural Development – Vietnamese CSO network and its roles in VPA/FLEGT
  • Tran Le Huy, Forest Products Association of Binh Dinh – The private sector’s efforts in fighting illegal logging in Vietnam
  • Nguyen Vinh Quang, Forest Trends – Legality issues in Vietnamese plantations

Supporting Legal Timber Trade in Vietnam (May 2017)

News Highlights

Vietnam and EU complete VPA negotiations on forest governance–quan-tri-rung-va-thuong-mai-lam-san-(flegt).aspx–EU-hoan-tat-dam-phan-chong-khai-thac-go-trai-phep-33819.html
On 11th May 2017, in Brussels (Belgium), Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan and Astrid Schomaker, Director for Global Sustainable Development at the European Commission’s Directorate General for the Environment, initialled the content on a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT). Both parties to later sign and ratify the agreement, after which the VPA will become legally binding.

Classification of timber enterprises
(TBKTSG Online) – Vietnam will classify enterprises operating in the fields of planting, harvesting, importing, processing and exporting wood into two groups, to comply with the requirements of Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT). The aim of the classification is to assess the risk of all enterprises in complying with legal requirements under Vietnam’s Timber Legality Assurance System (VNTLAS).

Sharp drop in US furniture imports from China and Vietnam
(ITTO) – According to data from the US Department of Commerce, the value of wooden furniture imports declined in February 2017 compared to the same period last year (2016), mainly in imports
from the US’ two largest suppliers China (-22%) and Vietnam (-19%).

Protection forests destroyed in Phu Yen province
At the end of April, early May 2017, a series of newspapers reported that more than 100 hectares of protection forest in Phu Yen was destroyed to make way for a golf course, hotel and resort without approval from the Prime Minister for the transfer land use purpose according to regulations. Not only that, Phu Yen has cleared over 1.000ha of forests for 20 other investment projects. Most deforestation happens in cattle farming, hydropower, horse racing and refinery projects.

Lots of purchase orders for the timber industry
(TTO) – After a difficult year with few orders, in the beginning months of 2017, the situation has improved for the Vietnamese timber processing industry. Good integration with many competitive advantages is bringing many orders for timber enterprises.

New Documents

March 2017: Decision to promulgate the HS codes for goods being endangered and rare wild animals and plants (Decision No. 924/QD-BNN-TCLN dated 24/3/2017) – For more information:

May 2017: Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development announces the State of Forest nationwide in 2016 (Document No. 1819/QĐ-BNN-TCLN dated 16/5/2017) – For more information:


27th June 2017: Illegal Logging Update and Stakeholder Consultation Meeting Number 27 organised by Chatham House – the United Kingdom.– See more at:


May 2017: Report “Repeat Offender: Vietnam’s persistent trade in illegal timber” of Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). Download at:

May 2017: Go Viet Magazine – no. 89. Download at:


24th May 2017: The Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of Ho Chi Minh City (HAWA) organised a workshop to launch the first phase of the project “Due Diligence System on Timber Origin – HAWA DDS” funded by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). The project will help the participating organisations, including forest owners, households, timber processing companies, wood traders and wood processing enterprises, to conduct the due diligence on legal timber easily and effectively. For more information:

26th May 2017:  Four Associations in the timber industry, including VIFORES, HAWA, FPA Binh Dinh and BIFA of Binh Duong Province jointly organised a workshop with Forest Trends: “Vietnam Timber industry say NO to illegal timber”, to develop the image of the Vietnamese timber industry within the international community. At the workshop, the four Associations jointly signed and issued a joint statement on the use, production and trading of legal timber and timber products. For more information: