Import of timber
In principle, the phytosanitary import inspection of wood (round wood, sawn wood, firewood, wood chips, packaging wood, etc.) is carried out at the external EU border. Austria has no special entry points for timber-consignments (only three airports). Competent Authorities of other Member States carry out the import controls. In exceptional cases, checks are carried out at approved control points in Austria. For this, however, the agreement with the plant protection service of the responsible Member State is required.
All Austrian importers of phytosanitary, regulated wood products has to be registered by the responsible plant protection service of the federal state. You can find all information about registration at https://www.pflanzenschutzdienst.at/registrierung-neu/. The company then receives a national company register number, which must also be specified when registering a planned shipment in the electronic reporting system EU TRACES NT (IMSOC).
For the import of living plant material (e.g. whole plants, seeds, etc.) as well as certain plant products (e.g. wood products), a phytosanitary certificate issued by the exporting country is required, which confirms the compliance with EU Plant Health Regulations (Annex XI of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/2072, parts A and B).
The special requirements necessary for the legally compliant import of regulated timber products are listed in Annex VII of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/2072.
Each phytosanitary regulated shipment has to be checked at an approved border control after its first arrival in the EU or, in exceptional cases, at approved control points at the place of destination before customs clearance by the competent plant protection authority.
In order to enable these phytosanitary checks, the forwarding agent responsible for the load or the carrier has to register such consignments in the EU TRACES NT (IMSOC) reporting system to inform the Competent Authority at the border before its arrival.
A plant health check contains three parts:
- Documentary check: Examination of the phytosanitary certificate and the documents proving compliance with EU requirements.
- Identity check: Visual inspection of a consignment to determine whether its content corresponds to the phytosanitary certificate.
- Physical check: Control of whether the consignment is free of harmful organisms.
If the inspection does not reveal any non-compliance, the plant protection authority releases the consignment in the EU TRACES NT (IMSOC) reporting system.
In case of a complaint about a shipment the CHED PP (Common Health Entry Document for Plants, Plant Products and Propagation Material) is rejected and appropriate official measures are ordered in accordance with Paragraph 66 of Regulation (EU) 2017/625 (Control Regulation), which has to be applied immediately, such as:
- Destruction of the infected part or the entire shipment by chipping and burning.
- Appropriate Fumigation with an approved chemical by an authorized company.
- Complete debarking
- Appropriate heat treatment
- Entry refusal
For the phytosanitary inspections of wood and forest plants by the Federal Forest Office, cost-covering fees are charged, which are issued by notification and also include the inspection result and any official measures to be carried out. The current phytosanitary fees are published in the Official Journal (Amtsblatt).