EU proposes new rules to combat illegal timber

Traders would be required to set up "due diligence" systems and face penalties for breaching rules; plans criticised

Traders placing timber products on the EU market could soon be required to check that these products are sourced legally, according to legislative proposals tabled by the European commission on Friday.  Those failing to meet this requirement would face penalties, but the commission stopped short of proposing an EU ban on illegal imports.

The draft regulation is intended to "minimise" the risk of illegally harvested timber being sold in Europe.  It calls for traders to apply "due diligence" systems to all timber products.  This would involve checking that the timber complies with relevant legislation in its country of origin and assessing whether there is a risk that it was illegally harvested.

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