The Viet Nam Timber Legality Assurance System
The core of the VPA describes Vietnam’s timber legality assurance system (VNTLAS), which will ensure that timber products are verified legal according to specified requirements for all stages of the supply chain, from the forest or the point of import to the point of final sale or export.
The VNTLAS has seven elements:
The legality definition states the aspects of a VPA partner country’s law for which the timber legality assurance system evaluates evidence of compliance. Vietnam’s legality definition is divided into two sections: one for ‘organisations’ (i.e. businesses, including private, state-owned and cooperatives) and one for ‘households’ (i.e. domestic households, individuals and village communities). See question below for more information on the legality definition under the EU-Vietnam VPA.
Verifiers are documents referred to in the legality definition that are used for organisations and households to demonstrate legal compliance. There is a distinction between static and dynamic verifiers:
Static verifiers are used to verify the legal compliance of the establishment and operations of Organisations and Households in timber harvesting, processing, transportation and trade.
Dynamic verifiers are used to verify the legal compliance of timber origin and timber in circulation at each stage of the supply chain.
Supply chain controls ensure that timber products verified as legal remain legal throughout all processes associated with the supply chain. Supply chain controls also prevent verified legal products being tainted by unverified products entering the supply chain. They apply to all three supply-chain critical control points in the VNTLAS:
- Timber sources entering the VNTLAS: Vietnam maintains strict control over the management and harvesting of timber from domestic natural forest, and for allowing confiscated timber to enter the VNTLAS supply chain. To ensure compliance of imported timber, Vietnam shall issue legislation requiring importers to conduct due diligence to ensure that imported timber has been legally harvested, produced and exported in accordance with the legislation in the country of harvest.
- Intermediate stages: The controls include systems to support data analysis to monitor timber volumes within and between stages of supply chains; and physical inspections particularly on the basis of the analyses of supply-chain data.
- Export to any market: A risk-based approach will apply, based on the OCS category (see below), for the verification of shipments of timber destined both for EU and non-EU markets.
Verification of compliance involves checks that all the requirements of the VPA legality definition and supply chain controls have been met to ensure that timber products are legal. Vietnam will develop a new Organisations Classification System (OCS) to assess periodically the risk level of all organisations with regard to their compliance with VNTLAS requirements in order to apply appropriate verification measures in an effective, efficient and timely manner. The OCS will be operated by the Forest Protection Department or other entities authorised by the government. The OCS will also support the Forest Protection Department in its management of violations of the law on forestry and other key sectors under the legality definition.
Once the VNTLAS is operational, it will provide for the issuance of a FLEGT licence for each shipment of timber products that is exported to the EU market. Such shipments and their exporters must meet all the requirements set out in the VNTLAS legality definition, supply chain controls and verification procedures.
Government agencies may make inspections to detect loopholes in laws, regulations and management mechanisms and to recommend solutions; as well as to prevent and combat corruption and to detect and handle violations of the law. There will be a mechanism for stakeholder complaints and feedback concerning the VNTLAS and FLEGT licensing.
An independent evaluator will periodically assess the implementation, efficiency and credibility of the VNTLAS in order to identify, document and report any non-compliances and weaknesses in the system. The independent evaluator will propose measures for improvement to the EU-Vietnam Joint Implementation Committee.
The organization Classification System (OCS) and verification are based on risk assessment, including
- Compliance with all dynamic evidence to ensure that the timber is legally sourced
- Commitment to implement all steps in supply chain controls and fully meeting reports requirements.
- Fully compliant with static evidence
- Group 1: Fully compliant with the above mentioned criteria
- Group 2: Not fully compliant
- Continuously operated based in self-assessment if the organizations and verified by the provincial department of forest protection and other organizations approved by the government.
- The government of Vietnam will issue guidance for implementation.
|1. Periodic organisation classification||Registration with the OCS system||All organizations in the VNTLAS supply chain must register with the OCS.|
|Self-assessment / self-reassessment by Organisations||First self-assessment conducted by organization after registration with OCS. Following assessment: - For Category 1 OCS: every two years. - For Category 2 OCS: every one year.|
|Appraisal of self-assessment and classification by Provincial FPD and notification to Central FPD||After receiving self-assessment of organizations (within a specified period of time…)|
|Decision and announcement of classification result by Central FPD||After receiving appraisal results from Provincial FPD (within a specified period of time…)|
|2. Irregular organization classification||Non-compliances and violations be handled administrative or criminal||Category 1 shall be moved to Category 2 when FPD has evidence of violation by government agencies (within a specified period of time…).|
|Appraisal of self-assessment and classification by Provincial FPD and notification to Central FPD||After receiving self-reassessment of Organizations (within a specified period of time…)|
|Decision and announcement of organization classification result by Central FPD||After receiving appraisal results from Provincial FPD (within a period of time specified…)|
Export verification for organization classified in group 1; Source: VNFOREST
Export verification for organization classified as group 2 (Source: VNFOREST)
Export verification for households and individuals (Sources:VNFOREST)
Verification steps (sources: VNFOREST)