South Korea is joining the U.S., the EUTR, Australia and Indonesian in having a strong, aggressive legal wood regulation.
The new regulation will start in March of next year and similar to the Indonesian regulation, will require documentation that imported wood is coming from a source recognized by the government as legal. Importers will need to have harvest permits or documents that the South Korean government recognizes as sufficient evidence of legality.
The new regulation also has similarities to the EUTR, in the sense that they will have recognized pre-cleared sources. In Europe, this is through the FLEGT system. The South Korean system hasn’t named their method, but have stated that they will establish clearance that is “mutually recognized in bilateral consultations between the Republic of Korea and the country of origin.”
The Act is starting by covering more of the raw material end of the spectrum—lumber and plywood for example. It is likely to expand in the future to cover more processed material like flooring.
Japan is working on strengthening their own system and Canada continues to debate a program as well. More and more countries are joining this club, but hopefully as things improve, the rules by which all the countries recognize legal material are standardized.
Oh, and while we’re welcoming South Korea to the club, congrats to Indonesia on their one year anniversary of FLEGT! The European Timber Trade Federation has put out a special anniversary issue of their newsletter to celebrate the event: http://www.ttf.co.uk/media/download.aspx?MediaId=3945