EUTR authorities in Nordic and Baltic countries are involved in a collaborative project to assess and monitor Chinese timber and wood product imports. The first phase of the project, which ran until July 2017, aimed at improving understanding of Chinese supply chains, experience sharing between EU and EEA countries and cross checking Chinese export documents through sharing customs data.
The project is reported in the latest EUTR Briefing Note from the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP WCMC) which focuses on communication and cooperation between national EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) Competent Authority (CAs).
The project identified around 2000 Chinese furniture suppliers exporting to Nordic-Baltic countries, with annual sales around €160 million, 50% of which was accounted for by under 50 companies. It was also found that of 21 Nordic operator importers checked, only 20% had adequate due diligence systems in place, and 60% had none.
Participating CAs said the initiative raised their awareness of different working practices and the challenges of managing multi-national projects.
Next steps in the programme will include timber identification analysis of Chinese imports, exploring collaborative approaches for scrutinising operators more closely and creation of an online platform for sharing EUTR enforcement data.
Danish and Icelandic CAs have also held a bilateral ‘joint inspection week’ to share experiences and approaches to risk analysis, inspection planning and operator follow-up checks. The Finnish CA also participated in two inspections of Danish operators.
The UNEP-WCMC note also reports that the European Commission is encouraging EU member states to apply for support under its its peer to peer initiative to back CA joint inspections and other cooperative initiatives.