Africa News New analysis shows a worrying surge in exports of...

New analysis shows a worrying surge in exports of tropical timber to Vietnam and China from the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2018

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Global Witness recently published a briefing which includes recommendations for Vietnam on the introduction of import controls drawing on lessons from similar legislation in the EU and US.

China has been presented with feasible options to regulate its timber imports, such as the ones identified in an EU-China joint study. However, a year on, China remains the world’s largest timber market without a prohibition of illegal timber imports. Global Witness’ research in 2018 show at least half of China’s tropical logs coming from countries with alarming risk illegalities.

As shown by repeated investigations by Global Witness, tropical timber from DRC is at high risk of having been logged illegally.

According to a report in published in 2018, Norsudtimber – a secretive company based in Liechtenstein, and the single largest owner of logging concessions in the DRC’s forests – is illegally harvesting timber on 90% of its sites, with government complicity. The majority of this timber is being exported to Vietnam.

Jo Blackman, Head of Forest Investigations at Global Witness said:

“These latest trade figures show the urgency of the action needed by Vietnam and China to tackle the trade in illegal timber.

“Until new controls are introduced, both countries will continue to be key destinations for illegal timber from tropical rainforests with disastrous consequences for forests, the climate and the communities that reside in them.

“MEPs discussing this today in the European Parliament should focus on the importance of securing this action from Vietnam, and the European Commission should
ensure that Vietnam fulfils its commitments and adopts effective import
controls.”

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