Half of RI’s major timber companies legally certified

Senin, 26 Maret 2012 | 09:26

Local timber producers have stepped up their efforts to comply with a government-backed legal verification system, with around half of the firms in the primary timber industry already securing certificates, an official says.Forestry ministry official Boen Purnama said that out of around 500 firms there were 210 comprising producers of timber and wood-based items operating on more than 6,000 hectares of land that were already certified.

“Most of them are large-scale producers. We want to encourage small-scale producers into similar moves soon,” he said on the sidelines of the European Union (EU) - Indonesia Business Dialogue on the forestry sector on Wednesday in Jakarta.

State-owned forestry firm Inhhutani I, PT Asia Forestama Raya in Riau, PT Kalamur in Samarinda, and PT Central Java Wood Industry in Central Java are among the certified firms verified by eight auditors, including BRIK, PT Mutuagung Lestari and PT SBU Sucofindo ICS.

The government was upbeat that the certification would open greater access to Indonesian timber and timber-based products in the global market, particularly in countries in which buyers were aware of not only quality, but also legality, Boen said.

“Whenever awareness in the market for legality aspects is higher, the demand for credible timber products will also be higher. The potential shortage of supply will certainly push up prices,” he explained.

The so-called Timber Legality Verification System (SVLK) was introduced in 2010 as a part of the government’s move to curb rampant illegal logging nationwide, which has annually destroyed more than 1 million hectares of Indonesian forests over the past few years, according to official statistics.

The SVLK is mandatory and has been applied in industrial forest concessions (HTI), production forest concessions (HPH) and community plantation forests (HTR).

In May 2011 Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan and EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht concluded a deal on legal timber trade: The Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA). Under the deal, Indonesia will be subject to due diligence conducted by buyer countries to validate the legality of its timber and wood products.

Indonesia is the first country in Asia to finalize the deal with the EU, and so far the biggest timber exporter joining the agreement.

As a country joining the VPA, Indonesia will see its timber and wood products considered legal upon entering EU countries, as the deal is recognized by the new EU Timber Regulation, which is slated to become effective in March 2013.

“The VPA has the potential to considerably improve the perception of Indonesian timber products in the EU market and with the new EU Timber regulation coming, Indonesian producers could have a competitive advantage against producers from non-VPA countries,” EU Ambassador to Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam Julian Wilson said on Wednesday.

EU countries import US$1.2 billion worth of timber and paper from Indonesia annually, which is equal to 15 percent of the latter’s export of the products.

By Linda Yulisman,
Source http://www.thejakartapost.com