The introduction of FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) licensing in Indonesia has opened access for businesses of all sizes to export certified legal timber to the European Union.
A national policy dialogue held in Jakarta on 13 July discussed how to maximize the benefits for small- and medium-sized enterprises, and ensure the best outcomes for trade, conservation and livelihoods.
Charles-Michel Geurts, Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation in Indonesia, sat down with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) on the sidelines of the event to give some brief insights into what the FLEGT scheme means for Indonesia and the EU.
Why is FLEGT so important for small- and medium-sized enterprises in Indonesia?
There is a market advantage for Indonesian timber and timber products thanks to the FLEGT licensing system. Indonesia is the only country in the world that can itself certify the legality of its exports. It is a big change for the timber sector, including the furniture sector, for which there is a real demand in the EU.
How accessible is the FLEGT license for small businesses?
Any change in the regulatory environment has a sometimes disproportionate effect on small- and medium-sized companies.
We really encourage the Indonesian authorities to continue to be listening to the feedback of small- and medium-sized companies in order to keep simplifying the system, while of course keeping the integrity of the system.
Is the EU taking steps to make it easier for small businesses to enter the market?
Yes, we have a number of instruments, some of them being not specific to the wood sector, for any SMEs in the EU and in Indonesia to facilitate trade, for them to participate in the trade opportunities that are in agreement today, like the FLEGT VPA [Voluntary Partnership Agreement], but tomorrow also like the CEPA [Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement], the very bold trade and investment treaty that is being negotiated between the EU and Indonesia, for those small companies to be able to capture the market opportunities.
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