Malaysia and EU advance VPA process
On 20 and 21 May 2014, Malaysia and the EU continued their VPA negotiations in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with the 11th Technical Working Group session, making progress in technical and political aspects. The meeting was preceded by the sixth joint experts meeting (JEM) on 15–16 May where both sides discussed in particular the elements of Malaysia's timber legality assurance systems.
On 22 May the EU Delegation and EU’s chief negotiator organised a public consultation with Malaysian stakeholders to share information on the VPA negotiation process. Stakeholders from industry, NGOs and indigenous groups received the latest information and discussed a wide range of topics regarding the VPA negotiation process, including:
• the benefits and scope of a VPA
• the role of consultations and stakeholder engagement in negotiating and implementing a VPA
• how different systems, including national, VPA and private certification systems relate to markets
• indigenous customary rights
• the treatment of timber from Sarawak under a VPA
The EU expressed optimism that the agreement would be signed with the Federal Government of Malaysia, and also informed that the negotiations would explore clear and time-bound commitments for Sarawak to develop its timber legality assurance system. Meeting participants also discussed aspects of the EU Timber Regulation and its implementation in Europe.