In­done­sia signs his­toric tim­ber deal

The Myanmar Times - - International Business -

IN­DONE­SIA will in Novem­ber be­come the first coun­try in the world to ex­port wood prod­ucts to the Euro­pean Union meet­ing new en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards in a move aimed at bol­ster­ing trans­parency and curb­ing il­licit log­ging.

Of­fi­cials from the Euro­pean Union and In­done­sia un­veiled mea­sures last week to en­sure tim­ber ex­ports to the trade bloc, val­ued at roughly US$1 bil­lion a year, are sus­tain­able and har­vested within the law.

In­done­sia is one of the world’s largest tim­ber ex­porters but the sec­tor is plagued by crim­i­nal­ity and cor­rup­tion, and vast swathes of trop­i­cal rain­forests have been felled for sale on the black mar­ket.

From mid-Novem­ber, spe­cial li­cences is­sued by Jakarta will cer­tify the le­gal­ity of tim­ber prod­ucts des­tined for the EU such as pulp, ply­wood and fur­ni­ture.

“In­done­sia has achieved great progress in bring­ing its for­est sec­tor un­der con­trol and im­prov­ing trans­parency,” Putera Parthama, a se­nior of­fi­cial from In­done­sia’s forestry min­istry, said in a state­ment.

“We have met the high cer­ti­fi­ca­tion stan­dards of the EU.”

This as­sur­ance sys­tem, de­vel­oped over years of ne­go­ti­a­tions, will be in­de­pen­dently au­dited to en­sure the tim­ber is legally sourced and meets en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards.

Once the agree­ment takes ef­fect from Novem­ber 15, tim­ber ex­ports from In­done­sia that do not carry this cer­ti­fi­ca­tion will be pro­hib­ited from trade within the EU.

Con­sumers in Europe can soon pur­chase wood prod­ucts know­ing they come from au­dited fac­to­ries and forests, EU Am­bas­sador to In­done­sia Vincent Guérend said in a state­ment.

In­done­sia sup­plies the EU with one-third of its trop­i­cal wood prod­ucts, with Ger­many and the Nether­lands the largest im­porters.

Jakarta hopes the pact will help it dou­ble tim­ber ex­ports to the EU to the tune of $2 bil­lion a year.

In­done­sia is the first coun­try to meet th­ese stan­dards but the EU is ne­go­ti­at­ing sim­i­lar agree­ments with 14 other coun­tries, which to­gether pro­vide the con­ti­nent with 80 per­cent of its tim­ber im­ports. –

Photo: AFP

In­done­sian po­lice­men con­duct an op­er­a­tion to crack down on il­le­gal log­ging in a for­est close to Ran­toe Pan­jang Bi­dari vil­lage, East Aceh. The Euro­pean Union and In­done­sia have an­nounced new mea­sures to en­sure tim­ber ex­ports to the trade bloc, val­ued at roughly US$1 bil­lion a year, are sus­tain­able and har­vested within the law.

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