EU moves slowly towards a pact on illegal logging
October 30, 2008

The E.U. is slowly moving towards curtailing the illegal timber trade through import restrictions, reports Reuters.

Draft proposals wold require importers to verify the origin of timber products to prevent illicit shipments from reaching European markets. Companies failing to do so would face stiff penalties.

Last month Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) "reluctantly" endorsed an international agreement on the tropical timber trade, but the E.U. does not yet have an agreement for member states in place. Some E.U. countries are still voicing opposition to the measures, saying they would hurt importers and burden small businesses with extra costs. Others say an agreement is overdue.

Environmental groups estimate that Europe imports 1.2 billion euros ($1.49 billion) worth of illegal timber per year. According to Reuters, the European commission says that illegal logging costs governments of timber-producing states 10-15 billion euros a year in lost revenue while "19 percent of the timber products used in the EU pulp and paper sector are of illegal origin." The U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization estimates less than 5% of tropical forests are sustainably managed.

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CITATION: (October 30, 2008).

EU moves slowly towards a pact on illegal logging.