From 2012 any company importing timber will need to prove where it came from or face legal sanctions, the European Parliament has finally decided.
Some 20% of timber coming into the EU is thought to be illegal.
The illegal timber trade has been claimed to play a significant part in the deforestation of some tropical countries as well as funding armed conflicts in the Third World.
“At last the link between the European market and the forests around the world ravaged by illegal logging has been weakened,” said Finland’s Green MEP Satu Hassi, who has led moves within the parliament.
“For too long the EU has preached against such logging and the resulting massive deforestation while simultaneously providing one of the largest markets for illegal timber.