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Brexit update: trading timber in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit

Published on: 03 October 2019


If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, businesses working with timber, including boat builders, timber suppliers, deck suppliers and refit yards will need to follow different processes for trading timber and timber products (timber) currently covered by EU law.


The UK will have its own law for trading timber. This law will have the same requirements as existing EU rules.


Importing timber for the UK market


If there’s ‘no deal’, businesses will need to show imports from the EU and European Economic Area (EEA) have been legally harvested which is a change from the existing guidance and businesses must do this now when they import timber from non-EU and EEA countries.


This means from Friday 1 November if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the legal onus will be on the person first placing the timber on the UK market, even if it is coming from the EU and has already been through the due diligence for the EU market.  Businesses importing into the UK market will have to provide the due diligence. This also means that if you import timbers such as teak and ply from the EU but outside of the UK, whereas you are currently exempt from prosecution or investigation if the due diligence is incomplete or incorrect, as the regulations scope is for when the timber is first placed on the market. This will no longer be the case, as you will be the first to bring the timber to the UK market.

To show you’re importing legally harvested timber, you’ll need to carry out due diligence. Use the due diligence checklist to make sure you:

  • gather information on the timber - its species, quantity, supplier, country of harvest and how it complies with relevant laws
  • assess the risk of timber being illegal by applying the legal criteria
  • mitigate any identified risk, by getting more information or taking further actions to confirm the timber is legal

If the timber has a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) import permit, the UK will recognise it as legally harvested. You will not need to carry out due diligence on this timber.

You’ll still need to carry out due diligence to confirm the timber is legally harvested if you’re:

  • a business importing from non-EU or EEA countries
  • a UK producer placing timber on the market for the first time
  • carrying out internal UK trade

Further information can be found on the Government’s website - or British Marine members can get further clarifications and guidance by contacting the Technical team via