EU country authorities prepare for FLEGT licences

Across the EU, national FLEGT Competent Authorities (CAs) are preparing for arrival of first FLEGT-licensed shipments, which they will register, authenticate and police. Some countries have appointed the same bodies that act as EU Timber Regulation CAs to the FLEGT CA role. Others are taking a different approach

Few details are yet available on FLEGT CAs' preparations, but those in Germany and the UK have released some information. In the former, the EUTR CA, the Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE), is also responsible for FLEGT, working with customs. German operator importers must send it all original FLEGT paperwork, which it will then validate and register on the EC’s harmonised FLEGT computer system. 

“We will check stamp and signature authenticity and also give the green light to customs, which will check delivered quantity against documents,” said the BLE’s Jörg Appel. Two BLE officers will be dedicated to FLEGT licence work, with a third having oversight. Action in the event of FLEGT violations, said Mr Appel, will “depend on who provided the information” which woudl typically be teh exporter. He added that German importers “seem keen on the arrival of FLEGT licences”. 

The UK is taking a broader partnership approach, with the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), working with Regulatory Delivery Enforcement, Border Force and HM Revenue and Customs. It proposes charging £31 per FLEGT-licensed shipment processed, although this is subject to review, and is setting up its own computer system to work with the EC’s. Precise information on penalties for violations is not yet available, but the authorities say they could be ‘significant’. The UK agencies, which are also are in communication with relevant bodies in Indonesia, anticipate processing ‘many thousands’ of licences per year.