Timber import regulations imminent

Furniture importers have been warned to be aware of new regulations coming into force in March.

The EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) which comes into force on 3 March 2013 was initiated due to increasing concerns over unsustainable forest management practices and illegal logging.

Studies have suggested that approximately 20 per cent of timber and timber products, entering the European market, originate from an illegal source.

The EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) prohibits the sale of illegally harvested timber and wooden products such as certain items of furniture on to the European market.

The regulation defines companies who first place timber and timber products on the European market as ‘Operators’ and requires them to implement a robust, due diligence system in order to identify, manage and mitigate the risk of sourcing illegally harvested timber or timber products.

The EUTR also establishes obligations for ‘Traders’, who buy and sell timber and timber products within the European market, to maintain sufficient records to enable supply chain traceability.
A wide variety of timber and timber-containing products is covered, including:
•    Sawn and machined wood
•    Composite boards such as fibreboard, particleboard and plywood
•    Veneering sheets
•    Non-upholstered furniture
•    Garden furniture
An appendix to the Regulation summarises those items covered by the Regulation, and references a more comprehensive listing as categorised by the products’ allocated commodity codes.
Furniture technology centre FIRA plans to hold a series of training sessions, aimed at those within the UK furniture industry. See www.fira.co.uk/training

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