Tito Summa Siahaan
The Indonesia Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the country’s certification system on timber would comply with a new regulation to be imposed by the European Union next year.
The certification system would enable the country’s timber companies to gain global recognition, Suryo Bambang Sulistyo, chairman of the group known as Kadin, said on Wednesday.
“It will give a competitive edge,” the chairman said at a forestry seminar.
Julian Wilson, the EU’s ambassador to Indonesia, hailed the efforts to comply with the EU’s planned timber regulation.
“The legality assurance of Indonesian timbers will give exporters the capacity to charge premium price, which will not only maintain its market share but also increase its presence in other markets where similar regulations are applied,” Julian said.
He said the regulation known as Timber Legality Verification System (SVLK) would “augment Indonesian timber into a global brand.”
The European Union plans to impose a new timber regulation in March next year aimed at curbing illegally logged timber and its products from entering the European market by imposing certification requirements and introducing verification procedures.
As part of the new regulation, the EU proposed the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Voluntary Partnership Agreement. That agreement is expected to be signed by the Indonesian government by the middle of this year.
Andreas von Moller, the president of European Timber Trade Federation, said that the planned regulation by EU would increase costs for timber companies.
“The regulation is there and nothing we can do to avoid it,” he said at the seminar.
Bustar Maitar, a Greenpeace campaigner, said that the effort to improve forest protection was good. “However, the main issue here is the implementation, and so far I have not seen much,” he said.
The Indonesian government introduced the SVLK in 2009 to comply with EU’s new regulation. So far at least 90 forest concession areas covering 9.55 million hectares have been either assessed or verified, according to data from the Forestry Ministry.
Indonesia has a total of 25 million hectares of forest concession area, according to the ministry.
Indonesia sold a total of $10.18 billion in timber and timber-related products last year, according to data from the Trade Ministry. European Union countries accounted for 15 percent of that total.
Suryo Bambang said the country needs to push its efforts to meet the standard set by the EU.
“It has become imperative to understand the legal frameworks within which we must operate,” he said.