With over 50 attendees, the update on EUTR and FLEGT by Michael Kearney and
Chris Hunter from Department for Business, Innovation and Skills was clearly a
topic of interest for LHC members.
After getting to grips with a name change from NMRO to Regulatory Delivery
and reassuring us that the pint and the inch were still being looked after,
members were updated on the enforcement based approach that the department
is taking to implement the EUTR.
An overview of the project based approach being taken was explained and details
given of some of the specific areas that had been studied such as Cameroon,
Rosewood and Oak Flooring. The imminent release of the guidance document was
trailed and this should raise awareness of methodology of enforcement.
We were given a brief overview of how UK companies were engaged after being
identified through customs data. It was explained that the period for responses
was likely to be reduced as it was felt due diligence was sometimes only being
carried out once companies were engaged.
Michael Kearney said that although gaps remain the UK timber trade should be
applauded for overall doing a good job. He explained that there was a tendency to
rely on a volume of (sometimes untranslated) documents without fully
understanding their importance. He said sometimes operators needed to stand
back and take a more ‘holistic’ approach to DD. Hardwood lumber products had by
definition a more straightforward supply chain than composite products.
Many companies were undertaking a thorough Risk Assessment, but sometimes
just weren’t recoding clearly what they were doing and explaining the perceived
level of risk or otherwise. In school terms ‘showing your workings’ was key!
Corruption was stated to be the most persistently challenging aspect. Michael had
recently returned from a visit to the Congo basin where he heard reports of
widespread industrial organised illegal logging. It was up to operators to
demonstrate why they felt they ‘were doing it right’ in such difficult origin
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