Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan (left), Vice-President of the European Parliament Heidi Hautala (centre) and Ambassador Bruno Angelet, head of the EU mission to Vietnam (right) at the press conference.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the EU mission to Hanoi jointly held a press conference on May 8 to announce the end of the ratification and approval process of the agreement.
On April 15, 2019, the European Council sent a diplomatic note to the Vietnamese mission in Brussels, announcing the end of the ratification process of the agreement with Vietnam after the European Parliament voted to ratify it on March 12, 2019.
On April 23, 2019, the Vietnamese Government issued a resolution approving the VPA/FLEGT between Vietnam and the EU.
According to Nguyen Quoc Tri, Director General of the General Department of Forestry under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the enforcement of the VPA/FLEGT marks the start of the implementation of cooperation commitments to solve illegal timber exploitation and trade between Vietnam and the EU.
Vietnam will build and put into operation a timber legality assurance system (VNTLAS) to ensure that the country’s exported wood and timber products have legal origin certificates and Vietnamese import firms are able to harvest and trade wood in accordance with the foreign countries’ laws, he said.
The country will continue improving legal documents harmonising the commitments of the VPA/FLEGT agreement, including the building of a decree regulating the VNTLAS, which will be submitted to the Government for promulgation at the end of this year, he added.
Vietnam and the EU agreed to establish a joint implementation committee (JIC) to supervise and evaluate the full implementation of the agreement’s commitments, a process which may be extended for several years.
JIC will ensure there is a dialogue mechanism, information sharing, and updated announcements between the two sides, as well as reinforce the operation of the multi-stakeholder implementation core group of Vietnam.
A general assessment will be conducted before the FLEGT licensing mechanism of the VNTLAS officially operates. To that end, each batch of Vietnamese wood and timber products exported to the EU will be accompanied by a FLEGT licence in a bid to prevent the illegal import of wood into the EU market.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan said the VPA/FLEGT Agreement conveys a strong signal of Vietnam’s and the EU’s commitment to promoting the implementation of the “Trade and Sustainable Development” chapter of the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), including regulations on sustainable forest management and forest product trade.
Ambassador Bruno Angelet, head of the EU mission to Hanoi, shared that Vietnam was the second country in Asia that the bloc has signed a VPA/FLEGT with, following Indonesia.
Once the agreement is fully enforced, Vietnam’s furniture industry will see strong developments, he said, adding that the EU will continue supporting Vietnam in building the VNTLAS and FLEGT licensing mechanism.
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