AF&PA President Testifies In Favor of Strong Illegal Logging Safeguards

May 8, 2012 (Press Release) - American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) President and CEO Donna Harman testified today on Capitol Hill on the implementation and enforcement of the 2008 Lacey Act amendments, citing industry concerns over the proposed RELIEF Act (H.R. 3210) and FOCUS Act (H.R. 4171).

The hearing was held by the House Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs and featured witnesses from across the business, legislative, regulatory and music entertainment spectrum, many of whom testified to the important role Lacey plays in protecting the environment and the U.S. economy by safeguarding against foreign illegal logging activities.

"The Lacey Act helps protect the environment and support U.S. jobs," said Harman. "The recommendations we put forth today will support the nearly 900,000 good-paying U.S. jobs the forest products industry provides.

"Our members' customers have come to expect products from well-managed, sustainable sources, and with proper implementation, the Lacey Act helps ensure that wood and paper coming into our country from other parts of the globe meet their expectations. We do not want the U.S. to be the market of choice for illegally-harvested wood products."

First passed in 1900, the Lacey Act was amended in 2008 to expand the scope to cover plants and plant materials, including wood and paper, and prohibit importation of those harvested in violation of foreign law.

In 2004, AF&PA commissioned a study that estimated 8-10 percent of global wood production was of suspicious origin and that a significant portion entered international trade either as raw materials or finished products. The result is an approximate $1 billion per year loss to the U.S. forest products industry alone in terms of lost exports and lower value of domestic shipments.

To further demonstrate the industryís commitment to the issue, AF&PA included in its Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 sustainability initiative a goal to work with governments, industry, and other stakeholders to promote policies around the globe to reduce illegal logging. Progress toward that goal will be outlined in AF&PAís biennial Sustainability Report set to be released this summer.

To read Harmanís full written testimony, click: www.paperage.com/2012news/AFPA_Lacey_Testimony_2012.pdf (34k PDF).

The American Forest & Paper Association (www.afandpa.org) is the national trade association of the forest products industry, representing pulp, paper, packaging and wood products manufacturers, and forest landowners.

The forest products industry accounts for approximately 5 percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP. Industry companies produce about $190 billion in products annually and employ nearly 900,000 men and women, exceeding employment levels in the automotive, chemicals and plastics industries. The industry meets a payroll of approximately $50 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 48 states.

SOURCE: American Forest & Paper Association