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:

Get to grips with FLEGT (February 2017)

News Highlights


The strategic move for enterprises in timber industry
(HQ Online) – 2016 has been seen as the most difficult year for timber industry in Vietnam, when the growth was only 1%. According to Mr. Nguyen Ton Quyen, Deputy Chairman and General Secretary of Vietnam Timber and Forest Products Association, in 2017 and subsequent years, the timber industry need to identify specific directions for development with a focus on artificial wood products along with expansion of trade promotion.


11th meeting of Expert Group on Illegal Logging and Associated Trade (EGILAT 11)
On 20th and 21st February 2017, within the framework of the first Conference of APEC Senior Officials (SOM 1) in the city of Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa Province, the Expert Group on Illegal Logging and Associated Trade (EGILAT) had a meeting to strengthen the protection and development of forest resources in a sustainable way, combat trafficking and illegal deforestation, improve the capability of APEC economies on legal timber trade.


The biggest challenge for timber industry in 2017 is the source of raw materials
(VOV.VN) – According to Vietnam Timber and Forest Products Association, in 2017 and the near future, there will be four challenges on sourcing materials for timber industry.


Active sourcing of legal wood
(Công Thương) – Vietnam’s timber industry ended 2016 with the conclusion of negotiations for Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Legality Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT VPA) which opens up opportunities for exporting timber products to the potential EU market. This is an advantage for enterprises who are proactive in sourcing clean and legal raw materials.


Africa – the important supply of timber materials to Vietnam
Currently, the volume of logs imported from Africa has been up to 800,000 m3 annually, accounting for nearly 20% of imported timber. So is there any risk of importing African wood material into Vietnam?


New technology to rescue forests
(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – New digital platform named Responsible Timber Exchange which was developed by BVRio to help companies that want to buy Brazilian timber without contributing to illegal deforestation by tracing the origins of wood.





February 2017:  NEPCon released a new version of LegalSource standard. For more information:


January 2017:  Paper “National Governance Indicators” (Relevance for the Regulation of the Trade in Illegal Timber) – Forest Trends. Download at:


February 2017: Report “Forests and trees supporting rural livelihoods: Case studies from Myanmar and Viet Nam”. Download at:


February 2017: The ITTO Tropical Timber Market (TTM) Report, an output of the ITTO Market Information Service (MIS) – 1- 15 Feb 2016. Access at:


28th November 2016: Centre for Education and Development (CED), in collaboration with the of Binh Duong Wood Processing Association (BIFA) held a seminar on “FLEGT VPA and the impact on business strategies” and a training workshop on “Strengthening capacity for enterprises to meet FLEGT VPA requirements”. This is one of the activities of the project “Promoting private sector participation in the negotiation process of Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA)” funded by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). For more information and download presentations at:

Get to grips with FLEGT (January 2017)

News Highlights


Promote sustainable forest management and legal and responsible timber trade in Vietnam
On 6th Jan 2017, the project “Sustainable Forest Management and Responsible Forest Products Trade” co-implemented by Vietnam Administration of Forestry, WWF-Vietnam, RECOFTC and TRAFFIC was officially launched. The project will focus on supporting Vietnam to improve the implementation of sustainable forest management and legal and responsible forest products trade. The project is funded by Australian Government through The Nature Conservancy (TNC) organisation. The project will be implemented until March 2018.


Civil society keen to take part in ASEAN’s new FLEG plan
As the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its member states implement a new ten-year plan to improve forest governance, civil society organisations (CSOs) in the region are keen to get involved. The CSOs are interested in having regular meetings with responsible government representatives and, ideally, joining country delegations to ASEAN working groups responsible for implementing the plan.


EU importers welcome first FLEGT-licensed timber
Of several countries implementing Voluntary Partnership Agreements with the EU, Indonesia is the first to have reached the goal of FLEGT licensing. And their first FLEGT-licensed products have arrived in Europe. They were the first ever imports bearing FLEGT licences, which attest to their legality and automatically meet the requirements of the EU Timber Regulation, meaning operators can place them on the market without further due diligence checks.


Deforestation should be prevented from wood processing factories  
(Lao Động) – Although the Prime Minister has ordered to “close the forests”, deforestation still continues. One of the causes that is rarely mentioned is that authorities have not had relevant measures to inspect and control the origin of wooden materials in wood processing factories.


Vietnamese Luxury Wooden Furniture Makers feel pain of regulations and deforestation
(Mongabay) – With Southeast Asian forests rapidly running out of rare, high-value timber, traditional Vietnamese furniture companies are under pressure to clean up their act in order to export to markets like the EU.





December 2016: Traceability: a management tool for business and governments – FAO. Download at:


January 2017: New Corruption Perceptions Index for 2016 from Transparency International. For more information:



6-8th December 2016: Representatives from eight member states of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) shared their achievements in developing reliable timber legality assurance systems at a workshop in Jakarta, Indonesia. For more information:


12th January 2017: The meeting on “The development of Action Plan to strengthen CITES implementation in combatting illegal wildlife trade among Vietnam – China – Laos” was held in Hanoi. The meeting aimed at the implementation of commitments of Vietnam in Hanoi Declaration on combating illegal trafficking of wildlife, the memorandums of understanding between Vietnam and China, Vietnam and Laos as well as the relevant CITES resolutions. This is also an opportunity for the CITES management offices in three countries to call for and coordinate funding for the implementation of CITES, and to fulfil the obligation to enforce CITES Resolutions. For more information:

Get to grips with FLEGT (December 2016)

News Highlights

VPA/FLEGT: Small enterprises will face challenges
(Đại biểu Nhân dân) – Vietnam and the European Union (EU) has basically finished the negotiation for Voluntary Partnership Agreement. This is seen as a visa for Vietnamese wood products to enter the EU market. However, this Agreement is favourable only to large enterprises, while small and medium enterprises will face many difficulties.

Integration: Legal timber exports  (video)
(VTV1) – Consumers now are not only concerned about the quality and price of products, but they also care about how the products have been made, is the process legal or not? The wood export sector in Vietnam is no exception, especially for the products exported to the European market.

Consultation on the draft FSC National Standard for Sustainable Forest Management for Vietnam
(VNFOREST) – On 9th Dec 2016, VNFOREST, in cooperation with the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) and the project ForCES held the third consultation workshop on the draft FSC National Standard for Sustainable Forest Management for Vietnam. The workshop provided information to the participants about the progress of development of the standards, as well as provided opportunities for multiple stakeholders to share their opinions to improve the sustainable forest management standard.

Timber industry under the competition on materials
According to Vietnam Timber and Forest Products Association, timber processing industry in Vietnam will continue to expand in the near future, which will create a huge need for input materials, from both imported timber and local plantations. Most of timber enterprises nowadays see material supply to be the strategic part in their production and export plans

Transition from small to large timber forests
( – From the demands of the market, and the policy to re-structure forestry sector towards sustainable development, the transition from small timber to large timber forests is being the focus of different ministries and provinces.




December 2016: Global Forests Report 2016 – a report of CDP. Download at:,4O3V3,O6JS1Y,HFIUG,1

December 2016: Uncovering the Risks of Corruption in the Forestry Sector – a report of INTERPOL. Download at:

December 2016: Reports from joint researches of timber associations and Forest Trends

– Current status of materials used in timber processing. Download at:

– Import of logs and lumber into Vietnam: Overview of the period 2013-2016. Download at:

 – Import of timber materials from Africa to Vietnam: Some highlights. Download at:

Timber trade between Vietnam and China: Some highlights. Download at:

Timber industry in China: Market, Policy and implications for Vietnam. Download at:

December 2016: Gỗ Việt Magazine no. 85. Download at:


16th December 2016: National Workshop on the draft Laws on Forest Protection and Development (revised) was held in Hanoi. At the workshop, participants listened to the final report on implementation of Laws on Forest Protection and Development 2004, the draft Laws on Forest Protection and Development (revised) and other key issues to discuss and provide feedback. For more information:

19th December 2016: The Vietnam Administration of Forestry (VNFOREST) held a meeting to review the implementation of key tasks in 2017 and discuss the plan for 2017. The meeting was chaired by Mr. Ha Cong Tuan – Deputy Minister of MARD, General Director of VNFOREST.  For more information:

Get to grips with FLEGT (November 2016)

News Highlights

EU and Vietnam agree in principle on FLEGT VPA
After six years of negotiations, on 18th November 2016, Vietnam and the European Union have finally agreed in principle on a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) to improve forest governance, address illegal logging and promote trade in verified legal timber products from Vietnam to the EU.

Indonesia and EU launch FLEGT licensing for legal timber to combat illegal logging­timber-to-combat-illegal-logging/15-11-2016/55 
From 15th November 2016, all timber product types listed in the VPA and directly exported to the EU must be accompanied by a FLEGT licence. Competent Authorities in EU Member States will deny entry to any such products exported from Indonesia to the EU without a valid FLEGT licence.

VPA/FLEGT: Enterprises are excited and yet still worrying
(HQ Online) – With the end of negotiations on 18th November 2016, Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade FLEGT VPA has opened more opportunities for exporting enterprises in Vietnam. Despite the support for this agreement, many enterprises are still very worried about the implementation stage.

Decision on Establishment of Management Board for Sustainable Forest Management and Forest Certification in the period 2011 – 2020  

Laos and Vietnam to Cooperate to Combat Trade in Illegal Timber and Wildlife
(Moitruong) – The crackdown on the illegal production and trading of forest products, as well as the fight against the illegal trade in wildlife are to receive a major boost through a new trans-border cooperative agreement between Lao PDR and Vietnam.

Swedish Court rules Myanmar timber documentation inadequate for EU importers
Swedish Administrative Courts today confirmed a ruling that a certificate issued by the Myanmar Forest Products Merchants’ Federation (MFPMF) did not provide adequate proof that a shipment of teak imported into Sweden had been legally harvested.

Mozambique moves to protect hardwood forests with new law  
As part of efforts to protect the country’s hardwood forests, the Mozambican parliament on Thursday unanimously passed the second and final reading of a bill that will ban the export of unprocessed timber logs, starting from the beginning of next year.



EU FLEGT Facility is implementing a project to increase knowledge about small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and smallholders in the Mekong region and address potential challenges for these timber companies to operate legally in the context of FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs). The below group will be the online SME discussion forum, where stakeholders can express their ideas and opinions, and discuss issues among themselves and with the EU FLEGT Facility. Access at:



November 2016: Report “Illegal Logging and Related Timber Trade – Dimensions, Drivers, Impacts and Responses” by IUFRO. Download at:

November 2016: Using a risk based approach to avoid illegal timber – NEPCon. Read news:

November 2016: Report “Vietnam’s Imports of Cambodian Logs and Sawnwood from Natural Forests: 2013-2015” by Forest Trends. Download at:

November 2016: Go Viet magazine – no. 84. Access at:

November 2016: The ITTO Tropical Timber Market (TTM) Report, an output of the ITTO Market Information Service (MIS) – no. 19 and 20. Download at:



9th November 2016: In Hanoi, The Advocacy Committee for the establishment of Vietnam Forest Owners Association has held a conference to announce the official launch of the Association. Forest owners are direct managers and governors of forests according to laws, who have the rights and responsibilities of forest owners, and who are an important part in the country’s efforts to protect and develop the forests. For more information:

30th November 2016: The Project “Increasing Capacity of Civil Society Organisations and SMEs to Implement FLEGT Requirements”, funded by EU and implemented by NEPCon and SFMI, has held the Closing Workshop in Ho Chi Minh City. At the workshop, the Project shared the results and lessons learnt from project implementation, as well as provide CSOs and SMEs with our toolkit, online training platform, and an overview to legality risk assessment in order to be ready for requirements of FLEGT. For more information:

Get to grips with FLEGT (October 2016)

News Highlights

National Consultation Workshop on VPA/FLEGT
The negotiation process for Voluntary Partnership Agreement VPA/FLEGT between the EU and Vietnam is expected to be concluded on 18th November 2016 and signed by the end of this year. After the signing, Vietnam commits to develop the Timber Legality Assurance System (VNTLAS) and will issue FLEGT licenses to shipments of timber and timber products to the EU. With the license, the importer does not have to conduct due diligence for legal origin of each shipment according to the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR).

With deeper integration, timber industry is facing risk on legality of materials.
When the regulations become more stringent due to deep integration, the timber industry will face a lot of risks, especially the risks on legality of timber materials. Mr. To Xuan Phuc (Forest Trends) said the common requirement of the US, the EU and Australia on legal origin of timber is that the materials have to be harvested, processed and transported in compliance with the local laws (where the activities are carried out). According to this requirement, some parts of timber products for export in Vietnam are having high risk of incompliance with related laws.

Decrease in import of valuable timber in Vietnam
( – According to the statistics from the Customs Department, the volume of valuable timber imported from the Greater Mekong Subregion to Vietnam is decreasing. This is a good sign, showing positive changes in timber industry in meeting the requirements on timber legality in export markets, especially the US and the EU. 

Timber export reaches the target 5 years in advance, but is still longing for support–duoc–ho-tro-d52561.html
At the workshop “Vietnam Integration Challenge: Policy options for processed wood export and retail sector” in Hanoi, experts stated the fact that although there have been many measures in to support the domestic economy, some export sectors has yet to receive timely assistance. Ms Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, Director of WTO and Integration Center (VCCI) said that export sectors, especially the timber processing industry, are in need of policy support to be compliance with the trade conditions in the new FTAs that Vietnam is engaging in.

Illegal Myanmar teak importation widespread to EU, investigation finds
In a two-month undercover investigation, the campaigning NGO Environmental Investigations Agency (EIA) found that nine companies in five EU countries had failed to meet the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) for legal importation of Burmese teak from Myanmar. 

CITES Conference Marks Major Breakthrough in Battle Against Endangered Rosewood Trade
The Convention on the Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) decided to place all 300 species of rosewood under trade restrictions, meaning criminals can no longer pass off illegally logged species as legitimate. This new control on rosewood could fill the gap that allows illegal trade of endangered timber species to flourish.



October 2016: Report “Importation of timber materials in Vietnam in 2013 – 2016: analysis from imported species”. Access at:

 October 2016: Report “Timber trade between Vietnam and the US in 2013 – 2016: overview”. Access at:

October 2016: Report “Timber trade between Vietnam and Japan in 2013 – 2016: overview”. Access at:

 October 2016: Report “Timber trade between Vietnam and South Korea: Current situation and trend”. Access at:

 October 2016: The ITTO Tropical Timber Market (TTM) Report, an output of the ITTO Market Information Service (MIS) – no. 16 and 17. Download at:

 October 2016: EU Forest Watch by FERN – no. 218 and 219. Access at:



 30th November 2016: The Project “Increasing Capacity of Civil Society Organisations and SMEs to Implement FLEGT Requirements”, funded by EU and implemented by NEPCon and SFMI, will organise the Closing Workshop in Ho Chi Minh City. The workshop aims to share the results and lessons learnt from project implementation, as well as provide CSOs and SMEs with our toolkit, online training platform, and an overview to legality risk assessment in order to be ready for requirements of FLEGT.