This article refers to legal status within EU of timber and certain products made of wood. It concerns traders willing to ensure compliance of their timber products. If you’re dealing with products made of timber or containing timber elements – you definitely should go through this text. If you still have any questions – do contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHO IS CONCERNED BY EU TIMBER REGULATION
Obligations of traders dealing with timber and timber products are laid down by the regulation 995/2010 . Point d of article 2 defines traders as: any natural or legal person who, in the course of a commercial activity, sells or buys on the internal market timber or timber products, which are already placed on the market. In other words trader of timber and timber products is an entrepreneur who either deals with timber products as a main occupation or purchases/ disposes timber products in any correlation to his professional activity. What’s important is that the traders deal with timber goods that are already present on the internal EU market. They never place the product on the market. Placement of timber products on the market is the role of operators (i.e. producers and importers) hence these two categories of subject: traders and operators, they have to be distinguished from each other.
The regulation introduces much stricter and more elaborated requirements for producers and importers of timber. Those obligations include stricter due diligence procedures therefore are treated as a separate subject and are not covered by this article.
It refers only to certain type of products exhaustively named in Annex to the regulation.
Regulation 995/2010 does not cover all kinds of timber derivative products, only those exhaustively named in its Annex. The list changes throughout time, so one shall always check the latest issue of the legal act. The regulation applies to both: imported and domestically produced timber products. As for now the most significant products covered by the regulations are:
- pulp and paper
- wooden furniture
- fuel wood
- rough wood
- railway or tramway sleepers
- wood sawn or chipped lengthwise
- wood for veneering or plywood
- wood continuously shaped (for floors)
- particle boards, oriented strand boards, wafer boards and fibreboards
- densified wood
- wooden frames for paintings, photographs, mirrors etc.
- packing cases, boxes, crates (including pallets)
- casks, barrels, vats and tubs
- builders joinery and carpentry of wood
- prefabricated buildings
OBLIGATIONS OF TIMBER PRODUCTS TRADERS
Responsibilities of traders are described in article 5. Each trader shall be able to identify:
- operators or traders who have supplied the timber or timber products to him
- to whom they themselves have supplied the products.
These information has to be kept by the trader for at least 5 years and presented to competent authorities if requested so. I personally recommend to keep a separate record of suppliers and customers of timber products aside from book keeping, just for the sake of compliance with subject timber regulation.
It shall be kept in mind that for any infringement of the subject regulation 995/2010 each member state has laid down penalties, that may include inter alia:
- seizure of products
- immediate suspension of authorization to trade.
CODE OF GOOD PRACTICE FOR TIMBER PRODUCTS TRADERS
Subject Timber Regulation along with FLEGT  and following it Council Regulation 2173/2005  are three core legal establishments for protection of global forest resources. Aim of regulations: to eliminate, within EU, trade of illegally harvested timber as well as significantly limit illegal harvesting all around the world. The main measures taken to achieve it were:
- supporting states of timber production (especially developing countries) in improvement of forest resources management
- concluding VPA (Voluntary Partnership Agreements) with as many timber producing countries as possible. VPA’s enable timber source verification and rejection of import into EU timber from unidentified sources.
- decreasing consumption of illegally harvested timber
- encouraging both public and private sector, including banks and other financial institution to raise, where applicable, timber source identification as an issue.
EU timber sourcing control is to be strengthened in the future so we may expect many of above recommendation turn into legal obligations. For many reasons it is worth to get involved in timber source verification process as soon as possible.
 Regulation No 995/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 October 2010 laying down the obligations of operator who place timber and timber products on the market.
 Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade – EU Action Plan
 Council Regulation No 2173/2005 of 20 December 2005 on the establishment of FLEGT licensing scheme for imports of timber into the European Community