Each ABS is a bilateral trade agreement negotiated between the EU and a timber exporting country outside the EU. While the parties voluntarily enter into a ECA, the agreement will become legally binding once both parties have ratified it. Voluntary Partnership Agreements (ABS) are a central element of the EU`s strategy to combat illegal logging. An ABS is a bilateral trade agreement between the EU and a timber exporting country outside the EU. First, while the EU and a national government negotiate an ABS, the content of the agreement is defined in the partner country through a liberal consultation process involving stakeholders from government, the private sector and civil society. This means, for example, that national actors decide how legal timber is defined in accordance with the laws of the country.