BRUSSELS – The European Union and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam on Friday signed a voluntary partnership timber agreement in a bid to curb the trade of illegal wood.
The deal was signed on the sidelines of the 12th Summit of the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM12) and would ensure that timber imports from the Asian country were sourced legally.
“This agreement is an important milestone in our relations with Vietnam and in our fight against illegal logging and deforestation. Our commitment to the environment is not only a slogan, but a reality,” said Sebastian Kurz, federal chancellor of the Republic of Austria and president of the European Council.
EU officials said the agreement was of particular importance because Vietnam is a key player in the global timber market and one of the main hubs for processing and re-exporting wood.
This is the second agreement of this nature to be signed between an Asian country and the EU after another was penned with Indonesia.
The agreement also included a quality control system, a Timber Legality Assurance System, that monitors the supply chain of imported timber to the EU and aims to block illegal logging from accessing the market.
The binding agreement will need to be ratified by both parties before coming into force.