EU Australia Online - News & information from the capital of Europe direct to Australian businesses

Tropical Wood Trade – New Move By EU

  • June 23rd, 2010
  • Posted by EUEditor

png-forestry.jpgThe Greenpeace organisation says it is satisfied the European Union will now crack down effectively on illegal imports of rainforest timber.

forestry-resize.jpgThe environmental group has been applying pressure during seven years in which the institutions of the EU  — Parliament, Commission and Council – have negotiated among themselves, and with outside partners, on blocking the trade.

It said, 14.6.10, it was pleased that a ban seemed just one step away, the formal agreement of parliament and Council to a compromise deal worked out under the Spanish Presidency of the Council.

“If this law is passed … the world’s largest market is about to shut its gates to companies profiting from illegal trafficking and forest destruction”, the Greenpeace EU forest policy director, Sebastien Risso, said in Brussels.

“The black market for wood products is often run by criminals fuelling conflict, robbing governments of revenue and causing irreversible environmental destruction.

rainfoest-umfmaineedu3.jpg“With this law, the black economy for wood products in Europe will be closed for business, levelling the playing field so companies are better able to act sustainably.”

He said the law would send a clear signal to the market that illegal timber was prohibited and would drive systemic changes in the forestry industry.

Companies in Europe would be required to trace timber back to the country and concession of harvest as well as verify wood products considered at risk of being illegal.

It would also significantly strengthen the EU Forest Law, Governance and Trade Partnership program, a series of bilateral agreements with tropical countries to prevent the entry of illegal timber onto the European market.

Mr Risso said that “on the downside”, the EU law seemed to be insufficient on a number of points, with the regime of sanctions and penalties “too weak”, the date of application of the regulation too late, two years after the entry into force, and printed materials, e.g. books, would be exempted for at least the next five years.

Greenpeace says that it understands a significant majority of member states, including Portugal and Sweden, had been trying to water down the legislation, though most supported it.

Access to the large European market for tropical rainforest timbers, from such places as South-east Asia, Papua New Guinea and Central or South America, has encouraged unsustainable logging, and circumvention of local forestry laws through corruption of officials or intimidation of local village populations.

Reference

Greenpeace Europe, Brussels, “EU prepares to ban illegal timber destroying forests around the world”, 16.6.10. http://www.greenpeace.org/eu-unit/press-centre/press-releases2/eu-prepares-to-ban-illegal-tim, (23.6.10).

Picture

Logging in Papua New Guinea, Greenpeace

Leave a Reply