Trading timber: imports and exports if there’s no Brexit deal

Prepare for the rules that will apply to buying and selling timber and timber products if the UK leaves the EU with no deal.

Rules from 29 March 2019

If there’s no deal, you’ll need to follow different processes for trading timber and timber products (timber) currently covered by EU law.

The UK will have its own law for trading timber. This law will have the same requirements as existing EU rules.

Importing timber for the UK market

From 29 March 2019, you’ll need to show imports from the EU and European Economic Area (EEA) have been legally harvested.

This is what businesses must do now when they import timber from non-EU and EEA countries. See the existing guidance.

To show you’re importing legally harvested timber, you’ll need to carry out due diligence. Use the due diligence checklist to make sure you:

  • gather information on the timber - its species, quantity, supplier, country of harvest and how it complies with relevant laws
  • assess the risk of timber being illegal by applying the legal criteria
  • mitigate any identified risk, by getting more information or taking further actions to confirm the timber is legal

If the timber has a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) import permit, the UK will recognise it as legally harvested. You will not need to carry out due diligence on this timber.

You’ll still need to carry out due diligence to confirm the timber is legally harvested if you’re:

  • a business importing from non-EU or EEA countries
  • a UK producer placing timber on the market for the first time
  • carrying out internal UK trade

Exporting to the EU and EEA

If you’re exporting timber to the EU or EEA, you may need to supply documentation about the source and legality of your timber. This is so EU and EEA-based customers can meet the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) due diligence rules. Due diligence systems will vary business by business.

You will not need to take any additional action at the border because of Brexit.

Importing from the UK with a CITES permit

EU and EEA businesses importing timber covered by a CITES permit will not need to carry out due diligence.

Standards and enforcement

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) will still:

The government is working with non-EU and EEA countries to make sure FLEGT licences are still recognised in the UK if there’s no deal.

Monitoring organisations

The UK will still recognise monitoring organisations based in the UK. These are independent bodies which carry out due diligence on timber. They’ll still support UK timber standards.

The UK will not automatically recognise EU or EEA monitoring organisations if there’s no deal.

The EU has indicated it will no longer recognise monitoring organisations based in the UK if there’s no deal.

Published 22 January 2019