With the Brexit transition period soon to end, businesses trading timber are being urged to prepare for the many changes ahead of 1 January 2021.
From 1 January 2021, all UK businesses importing timber from the EU/EEA and outside will be classified as Operators and are required to carry out due diligence under the UK’s timber legislation, and vice versa under the EU Timber Regulation.
The latest advice from the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is when importing legally harvested timber, you’ll need to carry out due diligence and use a 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 and mitigate any identified risk, by getting more information or taking further actions to confirm the timber is legal.
To help its members and industry as a whole, the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) has launched a due diligence toolkit to help companies importing and exporting timber and timber products better understand, conduct and report due diligence under the EU/UK Timber Regulation. “With this free, interactive tool, timber firms in the UK are gaining a fantastic new resource to undertake and report due diligence,” said David Hopkins, TTF CEO. “This is particularly important for those firms which may find themselves facing an expanded set of obligations as we shift from EU Timber Regulation to UK Timber Regulation.
“As the UK exits the EU Single Market, businesses importing into the UK from the European Economic Area will need to carry out due diligence confirming that the timber product placed on the UK market has been legally harvested to meet the UK Timber Regulations. This will be a change for many members, with Europe still supplying the majority of all UK timber imports. It will be important all our members ensure they have a due diligence system in place to identify areas of potential risk where illegal timber may enter the supply chain.
The ‘TTF Brexit Guide: preparing for 1 January 2021’ aims to support the UK timber supply chain to prepare for new processes and challenges and includes:
- The introduction of Custom Checks on goods coming from EU countries
- The UK Global Tariff replacing the EU Common External Tariff
- The need for most timber firms to complete Due Diligence
- The introduction of UK Conformity Assessed (UK CA) marking.
These are significant changes, as the EU is the primary source of timber imports into the UK, and the introduction of new requirements such as Custom Checks will mean greater administrative burden for firms when importing from the EU. While most timber products will remain duty free under the UK Global Tariff, firms should still check and familiarise themselves with the Commodity Codes relevant to their products.
“Regardless of whether a deal is signed the UK will see a fundamental shift in the relationship with our biggest trading partner,” says David Hopkins. “When the UK exits the EU single market and customs union, it is essential every business in the UK timber supply chain is prepared. Using this guidance, which is tailored to meet the needs of the timber supply chain, firms will be able to build a working knowledge of these changes, as well as be directed to where they can find detailed information. Make sure you take the time to analyse how the end of the transition period may affect your business, use the TTF tools to get yourself on the right path, and clearly communicate any potential issues with both your customers and your suppliers to minimise disruptions.”
More information on Brexit from the TTF is at: www.ttf.co.uk/brexit-and-the-timber-industry.
For the complete feature read the Autumn Issue of Timber Construction