In Uruguay, the government’s Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries of Uruguay (MGAP) has confirmed that the first ever shipment of woodchip has been made to the EU using new regulations. The shipment, which went to Portugal, is said to have conformed with the requirements established under a new European Union (EU) initiative covering deforestation-free products.
The same regulation also applies to beef and soybean imports. However, Uruguay is, to some respects, ahead of the curve, since the new regulations will only come into force as of 31 December this year.
The consignment sent from Uruguay was therefore very much a pilot to demonstrate to interested importers that the country is able to meet all terms and conditions that will eventually apply.
The new regulation makes it incumbent on suppliers to demonstrate that products destined for the EU come from areas free of deforestation.
Furthermore, there has to be complete traceability of all products shipped, from their initial production phase until their arrival at the container or final shipment point.
That Uruguay can demonstrate it is able to comply with the regulations is key, given that beef, soy and wood are all major exports.
As part of the first shipment, the MGAP established a geo-referencing and geolocation process around the establishments from which the wood for the shipment of chips was to be taken. In addition, it evaluated that no deforestation had taken place in the source areas from 2020 onwards. It brought in external consultants to guarantee its compliance with the regulations. Of note is that the General Forestry Directorate of the MGAP, with the support of the Uruguayan Agency for International Cooperation (AUCI), has since 2023, adhered to a public certification system that ensures the sustainable management of the country's native woodland.