FLEGT license scheme – import of timber and timber products into the European Union
What is FLEGT, and what is it meant for?
- VPA countries issue FLEGT licences (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) to, for example, wooden furniture, flooring, plywood, wood-based pulp and paper. The FLEGT licence guarantees that the timber and timber products are legally produced. Specified products and their harmonized system codes (HS codes) are defined in the country-specific VPA agreements. Consignment-specific licences are issued to the export company and should be attached to export and customs clearance documents. For the time being, Indonesia has started issuing the licences.
- Products that have been issued a FLEGT licence meet the requirements of the EU Timber Regulation. Further information on EU’s Timber Regulation can be found on the website of the Finnish Food Authority.
The purpose of the system is to reduce illegal logging and trading of illegal timber products in the VPA countries. In addition, the system aims at fostering sustainable development in the contractual country and promoting its forest administration.
- The Finnish Food Authority inspects the licences of FLEGT products imported to the EU through Finland prior to the consignment’s customs clearance and release for free circulation.
What are the VPA countries?
- The EU and a number of timber-exporting countries have negotiated Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPA). The VPAs define the systems with which the legal compliance of timber products can be verified.
- VPA countries include Cameroon, Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Guyana, Honduras, Indonesia, Laos, Liberia, Malaysia, Republic of the Congo, Thailand and Vietnam (situation in December 2017). Several other countries are currently at a negotiating phase.
Do the following
Operating instructions for importers/forwarding companies in a nutshell and more detailed instructions can be found on the Finnish Food Authority website:
1. Register as a TRACES user in the TRACES system and follow the “FLEGT User Guide” instructions**
1. Pay the licence processing fee in accordance with the instructions (payment instructions)
1. Enter the details of the FLEGT licence in FLEGIT
1. Send the original FLEGT licence (Note! the first version of the licence, with the “original” printed on it), accompanied by a contact information form and a payment receipt, to the Finnish Food Authority (contact information form) Postal address: Finnish Food Authority/FLEGT licences PL 100, FI-00027 Finnish Food Authority.
1. Complete the customs clearance process. Customs will receive information on the accepted licences directly from the Finnish Food Authority.
- *Note! The registering company must have an EORI number. To receive the EORI number, see the Customs’ EORI website. After receiving the EORI number, send an e-mail message to confirm the user role at tuovi(at)ruokavirasto.fi. Please note that the sender of the e-mail must be an authorised signatory of the company.
Significant factors in licence processing include the product volume and weight covered by the licence. In particular, if a shipment contains both timber products and other products, the commercial invoice or the packing list should include an itemisation of the product volumes and weights. Mark the volumes and weights accurately.
Please ensure that you submit the licences for processing well in advance of the shipment’s arrival in Finland. The licence must be approved before customs clearance.
For further information on the FLEGT licensing scheme and the EU Timber Regulation, see the FAQs published by the European Commission in cooperation with the EFI.
To whom and on what terms
The European Commission has produced an electric system for FLEGT licence processing (FLEGIT). The system operates on the “TRACES” platform which requires user registration prior to the first time of use.
A fee is charged for the service.
Information on the processing fee and payment instructions can be found on the Finnish Food Authority website.
The service is provided by: