Myanmar might export timber products to EU

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After the log export ban which entered into force in April, Myanmar is now working with the European authorities to export finished wood products to the EU, elevenmyanmar e-newspaper informs.

To legally export wood products to the EU, the government has to become a member of the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) and through a voluntary partnership or VPA that includes commitments and action to halt trade in illegal timber.

Myanmar's minister for Environmental Conservation and Frestry, Win Tun, met last week with the EU representative Isabel Faria De Almeida to request technical aid and open more training courses.

The government will sell 60,000 tonnes of teak this fiscal year and inviting an open tender system to local entrepreneurs to export plywood and finished wood rather than exporting the raw product, says elevenmyanmar.

Myanmar's exports of teak, hardwood and other timber reached US$ 947 million in the fiscal year 2013-2014, according to figures released by Myanmar's Ministry of Commerce.

A recently released report from the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) shows that between 2001 and 2013, Myanmar's illegal timber exports amounted 6.5 million cubic metres with a net worth of US$ 5.7 billion. This means that only 28% of Myanmar's timber exports were done legally, while the rest of 72% was done illegally. Moreover, in the last 14 years, 8 million cubic metres of wood was traded without the permission of the Myanmar Timber Enterprise (MTE), which is the country's only body supervising local timber extraction.  

Uncontrolled and illegal exports of lucrative teak and other hardwood has led to increased deforestation in Myanmar, leading the government to halt timber exports on March 31.

Despite these difficulties, international firms are now eyeing to invest in local wood based furniture and industry and the government is keen on being able to expand local timber industry. 

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M Narayanan
M Narayanan
Myanmar should look into the reasons for major teak sales illegally and remove the causes for the same urgently. Raw teak or timber exports can be permitted without causing damage either to the local industry or forests through mechanisms