The European Union (EU) and Laos held their third round of face-to-face negotiations on a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT). The talks took place in Brussels, Belgium from 17-21 June 2019. The Agreement aims to establish a system to verify the legality of timber products harvested and exported by Laos. This helps to promote trade in legal timber products, improves forest governance and contributes to combatting illegal logging.
‘The Government of Laos is committed to further develop our forest sector into a sustainable resource for our country’ said Dr. Phouangparisak Pravongviengkham, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, the Head of the Lao negotiating team. ‘Our negotiations with the EU are part of this, as the implementation of the VPA will help to enhance the robustness of our timber supply chain and the responsible management of our forests.’
Since the second face-to-face negotiations in June 2018, Laos has made several revisions, especially to its Forest Law, its Land Law and a new decree on environmental impact assessments. These changes provide further clarification on what will be considered legal under the VPA between Laos and the EU.