Indian Timber Certificate replaces CITES permit

Many developed countries have laid down regulations for the import of products made out of wood to ensure the legality of wood being used in such products. These regulations require ‘due diligence’ or ‘due care’ in the procurement of timber.

To comply with these regulations, EPCH has developed Vriksh – Indian timber Legality, Assessment and Verification Scheme in 2013 which was specially designed for facilitating exports of wooden handicrafts.

Compliance with Vriksh standards allows companies to demonstrate that the best practices are being followed in India in line with the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR), The U.S. Lacey Act (Amendment 2008), The Australian Illegal Logging Prohibition Act, 2012 and other Global Timber Legality Verification Programmes.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) notified EPCH as a nodal agency to provide certification of ‘Due Diligence’ in procuring wood through legal sources, in case of a request made by a foreign buyer or any other agency.

Thereafter, the export of wooden handicrafts was done smoothly and confidence has developed among international buyers towards the Indian wooden handicrafts, which safeguard the livelihood of millions of artisans engaged in this sector.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) wherein 183 countries are signatory members, has placed the entire genus Dalbergia spp. in Appendix II of the CITES. EPCH represented the issues of placing two species of Dalbergia namely Dalbergia latifolia and Dalbergia sissoo in Appendix II of the CITES, which is available in abundance in India and are a means of livelihood for thousands of artisans.

Indian CITES Management Authority MoEFCC filed for reservation against the amendment and the CITES accepted India’s reservation and sought a comparable document to be issued for all shipments of Dalbergia latifolia and Dalbergia sissoo instead of the permit. Vriksh Shipment Certificate was developed by EPCH to meet this requirement.

So far over 700 handicrafts exporters have been certified under Vriksh and around 26000 Vriksh Shipment Certificates have also been issued to the member exporters to facilitate wooden handicrafts and furniture exports.

The Council is also identifying alternative timber species and regularly following up with ICFRE to suggest some cost-effective species for the handicrafts industry. Currently, the Council is working on Melia dubia commonly known as Malabar Neem, and once the R&D has been completed, it will be shared with all members dealing in wooden handicrafts.

At present the requirement of timber in the handicraft sector is largely available from trees outside the forest. More than 95% of timber species originated from outside forest areas.

The Council has also established a wood-testing laboratory at Jaipur for testing of quality of wooden products, which will help increase the credibility of Indian wooden handicrafts among buyers.



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