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New EU Regulation to Fight Global Deforestation

Czech Republic
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On 29 June 2023, Deforestation-free Products Regulation ((EU) 2023/1115) entered into force with the aim of minimising the EU’s contribution to deforestation and forest degradation worldwide. Combating deforestation and forest degradation constitutes an important part of the package of measures needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and global biodiversity loss.

The new rules will affect the entire supply chains. Specifically, the rules will apply to operators and traders (natural or legal persons) who place, make available or export forest-risk commodities (cattle, cocoa, coffee, palm oil, rubber, soya and wood) and products that contain, have been fed with or have been made using these commodities, such as palm nuts, leather, chocolate or furniture.

The Regulation requires operators and traders to implement due diligence system. In practice, it means that they will have to ensure not only that the commodities and products they are supplying have been produced in accordance with the laws of the country of production, but also that they are 'deforestation-free' (i.e. notfrom land that has been deforested or subject to 'forest degradation' since 31 December 2020).

The operators and traders will need to ensure access to information on the supply chains; undertake a risk assessment; take mitigation measures and submit a statement through a European information system confirming that they have successfully exercised due diligence. However, SMEs are governed by less stringent regime.

The Regulation also establishes a benchmarking system, which assigns a level of risk related to deforestation to countries within and outside the EU. Obligations for operators, traders and authorities will depend on the level of risk.

The principal requirements will apply to large and medium-sized enterprises from 30 December 2024 and to smaller enterprises in relation to most products from 30 June 2025.

By Vladimir Ambruz, Of-Counsel, JSK, PONTES

Czech Republic Knowledge Partner

PRK Partners, one of the leading Central European law firms, has been helping clients achieve their business objectives almost 30 years. Our team of lawyers, based in our Prague, Ostrava, and Bratislava offices, has a unique knowledge of Czech and Slovak law and of the business environment. Our lawyers studied at top law schools in the United States, United Kingdom, Switzerland and elsewhere. They also have experience working for leading international and domestic law firms in a number of jurisdictions. We speak your language, too. Our legal team is fluent in more than 15 languages, including all the key languages of the region.

PRK Partners has one of the most experienced legal teams on the market. We are consistently rated as one of the leading law firms in the region. We have received many significant honours and awards for our work. We represent the interests of international clients operating in the Czech Republic in an efficient way, combining local knowledge with an understanding of their global requirements in a business-friendly approach. We are one of the largest law firms in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Our specialised teams of lawyers and tax advisors advise major global corporations as well as local companies. We provide comprehensive legal advice drawing on our profound knowledge of local law and markets.

Our legal advice delivers tangible results – as proven by our strong track record. We are the only Czech member firm of Lex Mundi, the world's leading network of independent law firms. As one of the leading law firms in the region, we have received many national and international awards, in some cases several years in a row. Honours include the Chambers Europe Award for Excellence, The Lawyer and Czech and Slovak Law Firm of the Year. Thanks to our close cooperation with leading international law firms and strong local players, we can serve clients in multiple jurisdictions around the globe. Our strong network means that we can meet your needs, wherever you do business.

PRK Partners has been repeatedly voted among the most socially responsible firms in the category of small and mid-sized firms and was awarded the bronze certificate at the annual TOP Responsible Firm of the Year Awards.

Our work is not only “business”: we have participated on a longstanding basis in a wide variety of pro bono projects and supported our partners from the non-profit sector (Kaplicky Centre Endowment Fund, Tereza Maxová Foundation, Czech Donors Forum, etc.).

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