The Indonesia FLEGT licensing system explained

Find out what this means for your Customs declaration

Antwerp / Belgium / December 15th

The government of Indonesia recently introduced the FLEGT licensing scheme for exports of verified legal timber. FLEGT, which stands for Forest Law Enforcement, Government and Trade, aims to reduce illegal logging by issuing a.o. licenses for all timber products transported from Indonesia into the European Union.

As from November 15th, all timber products of types listed in the EU-Indonesia Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) must be accompanied by V Legal export licenses that attest to the legality of the products. Authorities in EU member states will deny entry to such products if they lack V Legal export licenses.

The V Legal export license is to be emitted by the Indonesian authorities, after which it is the Belgian importer’s responsibility to register the license in European TRACES system.
Timber products that are not accompanied by the V Legal license will no longer be admitted into the European Union.

The products and product codes involved are to be found in annex 1 of the VPA. This annex consists of two parts:

  • 1a A list of products that require the FLEGT license.
  • 1b  A list of products that are NOT allowed into the European Union.


Please notice that not only plain timber is part of the agreement. Byproducts such as crates, tons and furniture are also subject to the new legislation.

There are four options for the import of timber products into Belgium:

1. The products are mentioned on 1a of the VPA list:
> The Belgian importer must apply for a FLEGT license.

2. The products are mentioned on 1a of the VPA list, but are also subject to the CITES legislation:
> The FLEGT license is no longer required.

3. The products do not require a FLEGT license:
> The importer must present us with a written statement in which it is specified that the products do not require a FLEGT license.

4. The products require a FLEGT license but had already left Indonesia before November 15th, the day the legislation went into effect: 
> The importer must verify the date on the B/L. If it was issued before November 15th, no further action is required.

When a Belgian importer applies for a FLEGT license for the first time, they must register their company in the European TRACES system to acquire an importer role.

When applying for a FLEGT license it is up to the importer to register the data of the V Legal certificate, presented by the local producer, in the TRACES system.

Once the FLEGT import license was issued, the data on the license must be passed on to the Ahlers Customs Desk. Then it is up to us to complete and file the PLDA declaration. Customs will then decide on releasing the goods, based on the provided documents or by performing a physical check.

Ahlers is already registered in the FLEGT system, which enables us to file for FLEGT licenses for our customers. Should you want to benefit from this service, we do require a mandate and the V Legal certificate. Please contact us for more information.



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