What is a Voluntary Partnership Agreement?

A Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) is a legally binding trade agreement between the EU and a timber-exporting country outside the EU. A VPA aims to ensure that all timber and timber products destined for the EU market from a partner country comply with the relevant laws of that country.

When a VPA partner country has implemented a timber legality assurance system and other measures set out in the VPA it will be able to issue FLEGT licences for timber products that are verified to be legal. Timber and timber products covered by a valid FLEGT-licence automatically comply with the requirements of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), which prohibits EU operators from placing illegally harvested timber and timber products on the EU market.

VPAs promote trade in legal timber and address illegality by improving forest governance and law enforcement. To learn more about VPAs visit VPA Unpacked.

Which countries have a Voluntary Partnership Agreement?

Six countries have ratified Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) with the EU. These are Cameroon, Central African Republic, Ghana, Liberia, Indonesia and the Republic of the Congo. Indonesia will be the first country to issue FLEGT licences, before the end of 2016.

Nine countries are negotiating Voluntary Partnership Agreements with the EU. These are Côte d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Guyana, Honduras, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.