De­spite re­cent con­tro­ver­sies, PNG’S forestry sec­tor is on a path to­wards greater sus­tain­abil­ity prac­tices and value-adding.

Business Advantage Papua New Guinea - - Contents -

New Guinea is now the sec­ond-largest ex­porter of trop­i­cal hard­woods in the world, with about 15 mil­lion hectares of the coun­try’s 30 mil­lion hectares of to­tal land mass con­sid­ered suit­able for forestry devel­op­ment.

Prod­ucts in­clude raw log ex­ports, sawn tim­ber, ve­neer sheets, logs, ply­wood, pro­cessed tim­ber and wood­chips.

The PNG For­est In­dus­tries As­so­ci­a­tion says PNG has a num­ber of com­pet­i­tive edges over other tim­ber-pro­duc­ing coun­tries, in­clud­ing sub­stan­tial wood and labour re­sources, and close prox­im­ity to world mar­kets, in­clud­ing China and Ja­pan for low-end prod­ucts; and to Australia and the United States for high-value and value-added forestry prod­ucts.

En­sur­ing ex­port readi­ness

Af­ter an em­bar­rass­ing gov­ern­ment en­quiry into Spe­cial Agri­cul­tural Busi­ness Leases (SABLS) in 2013, which showed some forestry op­er­a­tions were op­er­at­ing il­le­gally, PNG’S foresters have been re­spond­ing to a Euro­pean Union rul­ing (EU Tim­ber Reg­u­la­tion No.995/2010), which bans the im­por­ta­tion of il­le­gally har­vested and pro­duced tim­ber prod­ucts into EU mar­kets.

PNG’S di­rect ex­ports of for­est prod­ucts to the EU are mod­est— just 0.2% of the ex­ports in 2011. Of this, plan­ta­tion-grown bal­sawood is the sin­gle largest ex­port.

How­ever, the bulk of PNG’S tim­ber finds its way into over­seas mar­kets via China, which bought 78% of PNG for­est ex­ports, mainly round logs, in 2011.

Much of this tim­ber ul­ti­mately finds its way into the EU in man­u­fac­tured prod­ucts.

While any last­ing ef­fect of the EU rul­ing is likely to be on th­ese par­tic­u­lar ex­ports, the in­dus­try is con­fi­dent it is tak­ing the right steps to mit­i­gate the risk.

‘PNG is the only coun­try in the world with 100% in­de­pen­dent third-party mon­i­tor­ing of its log ex­ports [by Swiss com­pany SGS], so we are well placed to meet th­ese emerg­ing reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments,’ says Bob Tate, Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor of the peak in­dus­try body, the Pa­pua New Guinea For­est In­dus­tries As­so­ci­a­tion.

Load­ing logs for pro­cess­ing.

To­wards value-adding: a kit home made with PNG tim­ber

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