UK-EU status for the Global Timber Trade

The result of the UK’s referendum on its membership of the European Union inevitably raises many questions for those trading with the UK in the global timber industry.

by Global Timber Forum

GTF’s role is to provide information and if needs a forum to discuss what this means for our industry. Just to reassure our supporters that GTF funding is not impacted. 

Current situation in summary:

1. The UK held an ‘advisory’ referendum on whether to remain a member of the European Union and the result by the public was a slight majority 51.9% to 48.1% to leave the EU.

2. This result is not legally binding and there is still a vote needed by Parliament to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act, which took the UK into the European Union.

3. The UK remains a member of the European Union until such time it seeks to start the legal process of formally withdrawing.

4. To start the process of leaving the EU the UK has to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty on the European Union which allows a Member State to notify the EU of its withdrawal and obliges the EU to try to negotiate a ‘withdrawal agreement’ – which should be completed in two years.

5. The form of any withdrawal agreement would depend on the negotiations during these two years and there are a number of options to be explored.  Indeed this is a highly uncertain policy environment and some suggest a ‘brexit’ may still not happen.

6. During the two-year negotiation period, all EU laws would still apply to the UK. The UK would continue to participate in other EU business as normal.

7. EU Laws such as the EU Timber Regulation are still binding and are enshrined in UK Law (countries such as Norway that are not part of the EU have in fact adopted the EUTR).

8. As of today the UK Government has not changed policy and remains a key supporter of the EU’s Forest Law and Enforcement Governance and Trade Policy (FLEGT).

9. Businesses need to consider the possible changing tariffs, exchange rate fluctuations and customs charges in the future and other current regulations and standards influenced by the EU, which may now be renegotiated.

Rachel Butler, Executive Director Global Timber Forum