Ghana and the EC have started a cargo shipment test to evaluate export and import procedures in preparation for the transport of Ghanaian FLEGT licensed timber and wood products to various EU destinations. The main aim is to identify and recommend corrective actions for any shortcomings that might hinder efficient processing of export/import documents and thus the flow of FLEGT-licensed wood product exports.
Special emphasis will be placed on assessing the readiness of Ghana’s licensing format. The test will also inform preparations for the upcoming joint EU/Ghanaian evaluation of Ghana’s Timber Legality Assurance System, which will be the final review before licensing can begin.
The process is being run in parallel to standard export procedures utilised under the EUTR, which will enable comparison of the two.
The development of the shipment test drew on the Indonesian licensing experience and it involves two Ghanaian timber exporters and the Forestry Commission of Ghana, as well as Competent Authorities (CAs) in Germany, the Netherlands and Spain. The Netherlands chose not to include the private sector at this stage, but in Germany and Spain timber importers have also participated to make the tests as realistic as possible. Additional participants were the EC FLEGIT team and EFI FLEGT Facility, which organised the test.
Test preparation took place during the summer. Mapping, document collection and consistency checks on all export processes associated with FLEGT-licence issue, as well as the actual shipments were conducted in September.
Step by step, the tests comprised:
- Verification of shipment departure.
- Ghanaian exporters sending copies of licences to EU importers or in the case of the Netherlands directly to the Competent Authority.
- European importers’ submission of licences to their respective CA through FLEGIT (Germany) or national system (Spain).
- EU CAs’ assessment of licences for authenticity, validity and accurate coverage of shipments.
- The shipments have now arrived in Europe and CAs are assessing the licences and discussing any issues arising with Ghanaian authorities. Once the test has been completed, the EFI FLEGT Facility will report the results to Ghana and the EU.