Thursday, December 3, 2020

Timber importers face new due diligence requirements post-Brexit

Timber importers and exporters are being asked to consider requirements for their businesses in the event of a no deal Brexit.

In a no deal scenario, businesses importing timber and timber products from the European Union and European Economic Area and placing it on the UK market will have to carry out due diligence checks from day one of EU exit to demonstrate they are importing legally harvested timber, helping to protect against illegal deforestation.

Due diligence checks would involve:

  • Gathering information on the timber, including its species, quantity, supplier, country of harvest and compliance with applicable legislation;
  • Assessing the risk of timber being illegal, applying set criteria in the regulations; and
  • Obtaining additional information or taking further steps to verify legality (for example testing or assessment of the supply chain).

Businesses are being told they can either develop their own systems for these checks or use one provided by an approved monitoring organisation – what businesses currently have to do when they import timber from the rest of the world.

There will be no changes to the current process for businesses importing from outside the EU, UK producers first placing on the market, and internal UK trade. As before, they will need to conduct checks to confirm their timber is legally harvested.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS)– the body responsible for enforcement – has been working with companies involved in the timber trade to keep them informed about what they will need to do in a no deal scenario and how to minimise impacts to their business.

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