The American Hardwood Export Council has provided a list of new obligations imposed by the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR).
1. Under EUTR, U.S.-based companies selling timber products into the EU are not directly subject to any new legal requirements for additional documentation or declarations at point of entry to the market.
2. However U.S. exporters may be asked for additional information or documentation because from 3 March 2013 EU importers will be required to comply with the “due diligence system” requirements of EUTR.
3. According to EUTR, the EU importer’s due diligence system “should provide access to information about the sources and suppliers of the timber and timber products being placed on the internal market for the first time”.
4. EUTR establishes certain minimum requirements for this information. These requirements are summarised in the table provided. The table also includes recommendations for the information to be provided by AHEC members to assist their EU customers to conform to EUTR.
5. EUTR is framed so that the onus is on the EU importer to judge whether the information is of sufficient scope and quality to “analyse and evaluate the risk of illegally harvested timber or timber products derived from such timber being placed on the market".
6. While the ultimate decision lies with the EU importer, AHEC is confident that the approach recommended here will assure EU customers that they have met their EUTR obligations in relation to US hardwoods.
7. This approach combines credible trade documents demonstrating that timber derives from a country with rule of law, confirmed by independent sector-wide risk assessment.
8. AHEC is committed to communicating this approach directly to EU customers and regulators to ensure that it is widely accepted as an efficient, equitable and cost-effective solution for suppliers of timber from a region with good forest governance .
9. EUTR requires that the EU importer is able to identify for every product group the "country of harvest and, where applicable, the sub-national region and the concession of harvest".
10. Information on origin beyond country of harvest is required only in those circumstances where the EU importer judges that the risk of illegal harvesting varies between sub-national regions or between concessions within those regions. "EUTR Implementing Regulation (EU No 607/2012), 6 July 2012, Article 3, paragraphs 3-4".
11. For U.S. hardwoods, both the Seneca Creek study and the FSC Risk Register confirm that all U.S. hardwood producing regions are of negligible risk in terms of illegal supply. Therefore, in AHEC’s opinion there should be no need for EU importers to trace timber any further than to country of harvest to meet their EUTR obligations.
EUTR is not consignment based
12. EUTR does not require that EU importers seek proof of legality for each individual consignment of product placed on the EU market.
13. Instead, EUTR requires EU importers to undertake and document a separate risk determination for each specific type of timber or timber product supplied by a particular supplier.
14. The EU importer is required to review each risk determination at least once every 12 months and whenever there is a change to the species content or place of harvest of the product group which might cause an alteration in the risk profile.
15. Therefore, in theory, a U.S. exporter needs to be ready to inform their EU customers in the event of any change to their supply base that might lead to an alteration in the risk profile of a timber product.
16. However, in practice, this should not be an issue for American hardwood exporters since the Seneca Creek study and the FSC Risk Register confirm that all US hardwood producing regions are of negligible risk in terms of illegal supply.
17. AHEC is committed to regular review of these information sources. AHEC will inform both AHEC Members and EU importers in the event of any change to this low risk status.