Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia and the European Union (EU) signed the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade-Voluntary Partnership Agreements (FLEGT-VPA) in Brussels, Belgium, on Monday.

The agreement was signed by Indonesian Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan, EU`s Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik and EU President Valentinas Mazuronis, who is currently the Environmental Affairs Minister of Lithuania.

The agreement aims to ensure that all Indonesian timber entering the EU is produced legally and has passed all legal verifications.

Indonesia is the first Asian country and the largest timber exporter to enter such an agreement with the EU.

The agreement was signed after six years of intensive and constructive negotiations involving government officials, civil society and the private sector.

The deal covers a licensing system related to timber exported by Indonesia to the 28 EU member nations, based on the Timber Legality Verification System.

Once the agreement is fully implemented, Indonesia`s timber must comply with the EU Timber Regulation No. 995/2010 that bans illegal timber products from entering EU`s markets.

Hasan noted that the agreement was a breakthrough and signaled strategic cooperation between producing and consuming countries, particularly between Indonesia and the EU, which would help fight the trading of illegal timber.

"This agreement demonstrates that both parties do not tolerate illegal logging or an illegal timber trade. It also reflects our common commitments for timber trade guaranteed with legality certification," the minister added.

Meanwhile, Potocnik expressed happiness that Indonesia and the EU had agreed to fight illegal logging and its trading.

"This agreement is good for the environment and good for responsible business," said the EU`s Environment Commissioner.

EU President Mazuronis said the signing of the agreement had marked a new and significant chapter in the relationship between Indonesia and the EU. He wished the agreement could be implemented smoothly and successfully.

Following the signing of the agreement, Indonesia and EU will respectively enter the ratification process for its implementation.


Editor: Jafar M Sidik
Copyright © ANTARA 2013