Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam and the EU finished their fifth round of negotiations on the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade, with sound outcomes, as heard during a press conference held on January 22.

According to Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan, the talks on January 21 and 22 focused on a management system to ensure the legality of Vietnamese timber, especially the legal origin of imported wood.

The VPA on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade aims to ensure that all Vietnamese wood products exported to EU countries are of legal origin.

Once in effect, the agreement is expected to boost Vietnam’s wood processing and export industry in terms of sustainable growth and market expansion.

In a joint announcement released after the meeting, the two sides highlighted that efforts will be made to conclude the negotiations by the end of 2016.

The result of the fifth round of talks is important to the free trade agreement between Vietnam and the EU, particularly in terms of responsibility in protecting the environment and bio-diversity.

The EU, which makes up about one fourth of the world consumption, is now the fourth largest importer of Vietnam’s timber and wood products, after US, Japan and China.

In the first eight months of 2015, Vietnam’s timber and wood product exports to the EU fetched 442 million USD, while its timber imports from the bloc was 111 million USD.-VNA