Importing Timber or Timber Products – Timber Due Diligence

Fremantle1/ June 11, 2014/ Customs and Quarantine Updates


The Australia Government has passed the Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012. The Act criminalises the importation into Australia of illegally logged timber and any product made from illegally logged timber as well as the processing of domestic raw logs which have been illegally logged. A maximum penalty of five years imprisonment, $85,000 for an individual and $425,000 for a corporation, plus forfeiture of timber product/ raw logs applies where they are found to have imported or processed illegally logged timber and done so knowingly, intentionally or recklessly.

3 easy Factsheets to use to prove your Due Diligence


1. Cover Letter to Supplier

2. International Importers Due Diligence Guide

3. Supplier and Product Management Spreadsheet for Timber Due Diligence

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Date of Effect: 30 November 2014.

The onus is on the importer to exercise due diligence when sourcing timber or paper products to ensure that you are not importing products that are sourced from illegally logged timber.

As from the 30th November 2014, Customs Brokers will be asked to answer a new community protection question relating to products subject to this legislation, which reads:


In order for us to answer YES to this question, we require you to complete the below declaration on your company letterhead and list the HS codes (we can assist you with these codes) and supplier’s details for your shipments that you have undergone your due diligence. Please note that if  we answers NO to this question from 1st of January 2018 Quarantine will start to issue penalties.

Timber Due Diligence flowchart and Exemption form of Goods Effected


What goods are effected?

Chapter 44

44.03 Wood in rough

44.07 Wood sawn or chipped lengthwise

44.08 Sheets of veneering

44.09 Continuously shaped wood

44.10 Particleboard

44.11 Fibreboard of wood

44.12 Plywood

44.13 Densified wood

44.14 Wooden frames

44.16 Casks, barrels

44.18 Builders’ joinery, doors


Chapter 47

47.01 Mechanical wood pulp

47.02 Chemical wood pulp, dissolving grad

47.03 Chemical wood pulp, soda or sulpha

47.04 Chemical wood pulp, sulphite

47.05 Mechanical or chemical wood pulp


Chapter 48

48.01 Newsprint

48.02 Uncoated writing paper

48.03 Toilet or facial tissue

48.04 Uncoated kraft paper and paperboard

48.05 Other uncoated paper and paperboard

48.06 Glazed/translucent papers

48.07 Composite paper and paperboard

48.08 Corrugated paper and paperboard

48.09 Carbon and self-copy paper

48.10 Coated paper and paperboard

48.11 Paper products coated/surfaced

48.13 Cigarette paper

48.16 Carbon and self-copy paper (other than 48.09)

48.17 Envelopes, letter cards

48.18 Toilet paper, tissues, serviettes

48.19 Cartons, boxes made of paper

48.20 Paper booklets

48.21 Paper labels

48.23 Other paper


Chapter 94

94.01 Seats

94.03 Other furniture

94.06 Prefabricated buildings


  • Product that is made from recycled material, such as waste paper that has been converted to newsprint or copy paper

  • Any content of a product that is made of recycled material – which means if you import copy paper that is 50% recycled, you would need to conduct due diligence on the percentage that is not recycled.

  • A product imported into Australia as part of a consignment where the combined value of the regulated products in the consignment does not exceed A$1000.00. For example, if an importer brings in a shipping container with goods worth A$8000.0, and in the container there is A$950.00 worth of regulated timber product, the importer will not need to undertake due diligence on that import.

  • Packaging material used to support, protect, or carry another product.


Step 1 – Gather Information – letters, emails, site visits, websites, phone calls. Record this in writing, including:

  • Product type / Trade name

  • Common name and scientific name

  • Country of harvest

  • Documentation provided by the supplier

  • Evidence that the timber have been legally harvested.

If an importer cannot obtain this information then they must be able to show that they have made a reasonable effort in seeking to obtain the information.

Step 2 – Used timber Legality Framework or Country Specific Guideline

Use this step to assure yourself that the timer is low risk of being illegally logged. For example, most timber forests in France are heavily regulated so the chance of timber being illegally logged is minimal.

Step 3 – Undertake risk Assessment

You must identify and assess the level of risk by considering the relevant factors:

  • The prevalence of illegal harvesting in the area in which the timber was harvested.

  • The prevalence of illegal harvesting of the tree species from which the products are derived.

  • The prevalence of armed conflict in the area where the timber was harvested

  • The complexity of the product.

  • Any other information known, or should be reasonably be known, by the importer.

Step 4 – Risk Mitigation

If after completing the abovementioned steps you have identified your products are at a high risk of being illegally logged, you must undertake a risk mitigation process in accordance with the regulation. Where there remains a serious risk, you may choose not to import the product.

What Sort of Penalties can be Applied Under the Act

Australian businesses should be aware that, under the Act, significant penalties may apply if they knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly import or process illegally logged timber. The initiation of penalties is at the discretion of a court, however the maximum penalties for a breach are:

  • five years imprisonment, and / or

  • A$85,000.00 for an individual. and / or

  • A$425,000.00 for a corporation or body corporate.


More Information

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Phone: 1800657313