NL bans illegal timber imports
THE HAGUE – The Netherlands will ban imports and sales of illegally harvested timber as of March 3, 2013. The ban covers anything from window frames, garden furniture and fences to wood used in and on sail and power boats. It affects 5,000 Dutch companies that from now on must be able to show the wood they use was legally harvested. “The import ban helps fight deforestation,” says Deputy Economic Affairs Minister Sharon Dijksma. “It provides better protection of forest animals and plants and of people who depend on forests for their livelihood.” Violators face a maximum fine of €79,000 or 2 years behind bars. The government may also temporarily shut them down.
In the Netherlands, using wood on boats _ notably teak _ is not without controversy due to deforestation and bio-diversity issues. The Dutch ban forces importers to get EU-organized licenses from timber nations. The FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) license proves the timber is legal and was harvested durably. Illegal logging has negative economic and environmental impacts, causes deforestation, climate change and loss of biodiversity and can lead to land and resources conflicts
Ghana was the first to sign a timber deal with the EU in 2008. Since then, Congo-Brazzaville, Liberia, Central African Republic and Cameroon have followed suit. Congo-Kinshasa, Gabon, Indonesia, Malaysia, Honduras, Laos and Vietnam are currently having timber talks with the EU.