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How the EU will limit the sale of commodities that cause deforestation

Spain - 

Barely five months from now, the obligations contained in the European Regulation on deforestation aimed at avoiding the introduction, making available and export of certain commodities and products associated with deforestation and forest degradation, will be applicable in general in the Member States.

On December 30, 2024, the majority of the obligations resulting from Regulation (EU) 2023/1115 of the European Parliament and of the Council, on the making available on the Union market and the export from the Union of certain commodities and products associated with deforestation and forest degradation and repealing Regulation (EU) No 995/2010 will be applicable in general.

The Regulation seeks to lay down rules regarding the placing and making available on the Union market as well as the export from the Union, of relevant products, i.e., certain products that contain, have been fed with or have been made using, relevant commodities, namely cattle, cocoa, coffee, oil palm, rubber, soya and wood.

The Regulation prohibits placing and making available in the market and exporting those products and relevant commodities unless three specific conditions are met: they are deforestation-free; they have been produced in accordance with the relevant legislation of the country of production and are covered by a due diligence statement. The aim is to minimize the Union’s contribution to deforestation and forest degradation, greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss worldwide.

To do this it imposes a series of obligations on operators (those who, in the course of a commercial activity, place relevant products on the market or export them) and traders (those who make those products available on the market).

From the standpoint of operators, their main obligation will be to carry out a due diligence process before placing the relevant products on the market or exporting them, collecting for this purpose the information, data and documents that provide that such products meet the abovementioned conditions. They must also assess, in accordance with the criteria laid down in the Regulation, the risk that the relevant products that they will be placing in the market or exporting are non-compliant and will have to adopt the necessary risk-mitigation measures to achieve no or only a negligible risk.   

In all cases, except with respect to timber and timber products included in the Annex to Regulation (UE) 995/2010, operators who on December 31, 2020 were established as micro-undertakings or small undertakings in accordance with articles 3.1 and 3.2, of Directive 2013/34/EU, respectively, will only have to comply with these obligations as from June 30, 2025.

The obligations indicated will also apply to traders, except traders that are SMEs, which may make the relevant product available on the market if they have the following information on those products:

  1. Regarding operators or traders that have supplied the relevant products: the name, registered trade name or registered trademark, the postal address, the email address and, if available, a web address, as well as the reference numbers of the due diligence statements associated to those products.
  2. Regarding the operators or traders to whom they have supplied the relevant products. the name, registered trade name or registered trademark, the postal address, the email address and, if available, a web address.

That information shall be kept for at least five years from the date of the making available on the market and must be provided to the competent authorities upon request.