In the negotiation phase, the EU and the timber-exporting country agree the main text and annexes of a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA). Before this can happen, negotiations take place within and among stakeholder groups in the timber-exporting country.
The in-country negotiations contribute to the national consensus that forms the basis of a country's negotiating position with the EU. There are, therefore, three levels of negotiations in this phase (Figure 2).
National negotiations within government, the private sector and civil society
National negotiations among government, the private sector and civil society
Bilateral negotiations between the partner country and the EU