Vietnam and the European Union (EU) concluded their third round of talks on a Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) in Brussels on November 15-16.

The Vietnamese delegation was led by Vo Dai Hai, Deputy Head of the Forestry Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, while the EU delegation was headed by Hugo Maria Schally, Head of the International Agreements and Trade of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Environment.

The two sides discussed issues related to the definition of timber legality, the development of the Timber Legality Assurance System (TLAS) and list of timber products.

They agreed to acknowledge the fact that Vietnam is building a definition of timber legality. The country is preparing a TLAS comprising of wood products for both domestic and export markets.

They agreed upon an updated roadmap for technical meetings and the fourth negotiations scheduled for next April.

Both sides expressed their hope to conclude the round of talks in September 2013.

According to EU regulations, FLEGT, which will take effect on March 3, 2013, will establish a licensing scheme to ensure only licensed timber is exported to the EU.

The EU has signed FLEGT/VPA regulations with several countries, including Ghana , Cameroon and Indonesia. It is holding negotiations with others, including Vietnam.-VNA