VIENTIANE, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- Lao government, civil society organizations and wood processing industry met in Lao capital Vientiane on Wednesday, discussing the updated Timber Legality Definition to take a further step towards better accessing the European Union (EU) market, Lao News Agency (KPL) reported Thursday.
The discussion was made at a technical working group meeting held in Vientiane under the chairmanship of Director General of Forestry Department, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Sousath Sayakoummane.
The discussion was a preparation of the second face-to-face negotiation of FLEGT VPA (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade -- Voluntary Partnership Agreement) between the Lao government and the EU which is expected to be held early next year.
"Laos is engaged in a VPA process with the EU which aims to combat illegal logging and associated trade. The FLEGT VPA process contributes to strengthening governance in the forest sector which also improves the foundations for sustainable forest management," KPL quoted an expert at the EU FLEGT Facility, European Forest Institute, Tim Dawson as saying.
Initiated by the Lao government and supported by various national and international stakeholders, the Lao-EU FLEGT process aims at promoting good forest governance and eliminating illegal logging activities in Laos.
VPAs, bilateral trade agreements between the EU and a timber-exporting country outside the EU, are central to this scheme. Among other things, VPAs address illegal logging and foster trade in legal timber products.