Since the Swiss obligation to declare wood and wood products, which has been in force since 2012, follows a completely different approach than the EU Timber Trade Regulation (EUTR) that came into force in 2013, a Swiss Wood Trade Regulation is intended to eliminate the resulting competitive disadvantages.
The EUTR obliges those who first place wood on the market with the aim of keeping illegally felled wood off the market; the Swiss obligation to declare, on the other hand, only requires consumers to provide evidence of the type and origin of wood. This difference has meant that exporters of Swiss wood products have suffered significant losses in recent years because their products are taxed in the EU as originating from a third country.
However, the umbrella association of the Swiss forest and wood industry (Lignum) currently fears that a unilateral implementation of the new timber trade regulation without a contractual solution with the EU could result in a new disadvantage due to greatly increased administrative costs for imports. From the point of view of the industry, the Federal Council should therefore examine the introduction of the Timber Trade Ordinance parallel to anchoring it in the bilateral agreements. Otherwise, from Lignum’s point of view, it is crucial to at least keep the administrative effort for the affected companies in the entire timber chain as low as possible. This should also apply to imports from the EU. It is important to strive for an SME-friendly solution. Lignum therefore demands that the industry associations be closely involved in the practical implementation of the Timber Trade Ordinance.