Indonesia To Keep Export License System

Backing off an earlier announcement that Indonesian wood products exporters would no longer need to obtain a license showing the wood’s origin and legality, Indonesia’s Ministry of Trade recently reversed itself after an outcry from wood products brokers. Called “v-legal” (verified legal), the license system was developed years ago after Indonesian log exports came under fire for illegal and unsustainable logging practices. Companies across Indonesia objected to the original announcement in February, claiming it would irrevocably harm exports, lock Indonesian products out of the lucrative EU market and hurt the reputation of Indonesian producers who have worked to improve forestry practices. Under a 2013 agreement, all timber products shipped from Indonesia to the EU must have the v-legal license. Trade groups in the U.S.and Australia had also questioned the announcement. Backers claimed the v-legal process is too expensive, but others noted the move would hamper furniture exports that grew by almost 15% from 2018-19.

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