Fri 1 Mar 2013
Filed under: Business / Trade,International,News
A delegation will arrive from the EU in Myanmar this month to assess the timber industry ahead of signing an agreement to export timber to the EU. Exporters have said that they hope timber exports will be possible by June 2013.
Bar Bar Cho, General Secretary of the Myanmar Timber Merchants Association (MTMA) told Mizzima that he was certain that over time timber merchants would be able to satisfy the EU requirements.
“The Myanmar timber and forestry products must be guaranteed as legal products before they can be exported,” said Zaw Win of MTMA.
However, there are several obstacles that will need to be overcome before any agreement is reached.
Speaking with Mizzima, Kevin Woods, a Yangon-based PhD candidate in environmental policy at the University of California and a part-time consultant for Forest Trends, said “the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry (MOECAF) needs to address several outstanding issues in order to meet these international standards. For one, there is no such mechanism in place in the country yet to decipher the source of the timber – whether it originates from natural forest, plantation, or a land concession.”
He welcomed the possibility of proper monitoring of the timber industry once the agreement is reached.
“There is growing concern that a significant volume of timber comes from large-scale land concessions, which is completely unsustainable and illegal. Moreover, a working chain of custody (CoC) and certification system needs to be put in place, which the government is currently making advances on,” said Woods.
A timber exporter to the Asian market, Aung Myo Lwin, said, “Timber can be exported to global markets only with certificates guaranteeing protection against deforestation and sustainable administration of forestry.”
Myanmar timber is currently exported to India, China, Thailand and Bangladesh with temporary certificates issued by MOECAF.