The European Commission, the Parliament and the Council have finally reached a political agreement on a new EU law to halt the trade in illegal timber. The law will still need to be endorsed by the Parliament in July and by EU Governments in autumn and is expected to come into force in 2012. Anke Schulmeister, EU Forest Policy Officer at WWF, commented: "Today's agreement paves the way for a new European law banning illegal timber from the EU market, which is long overdue. After years of hard debates, WWF welcomes the ban on illegal timber and a due diligence system for EU wood industries. This should level the playing field for companies that want wood from legal sources and want to contribute to saving precious tropical forests. "The exclusion of printed products such as books or newspapers from the legislation and above all the lack of a unified EU system of sanctions, risk to reduce the effectiveness of the ban. We hope that member states will impose strict penalties for those who break the law."