AF&PA Applauds US, Indonesia Illegal Logging Talks

April 4, 2006 - The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) applauded today's announcement that U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman and the Indonesian Minister of Trade Mari Pangestu had begun negotiations on a landmark agreement to work together to combat illegal logging in Indonesia. The negotiations are part of larger discussions under the United States-Indonesia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).

"Illegal logging causes environmental damage and economic hardship that affects more than just the country where it is occurring," said W. Henson Moore, President and CEO of AF&PA. "Putting an end to illegal logging is something that everyone should get behind. Governments, industry and environmental NGOs can and should work together to make this happen. These negotiations are a key step toward making real progress in the fight against illegal logging"

A 2004 report commissioned by AF&PA analyzed the extent and economic impacts of illegally produced and traded wood products. According to that report, up to ten percent of global timber production could be of suspicious origin and illegal logging depresses world legally harvested wood prices by seven percent to 16 percent on average, depending on the product. Were there no illegally harvested wood in the global market, the study estimated the value of U.S. produced wood could increase by over $460 million each year.

"The flood of illegal timber into world markets drives down the value of legally sourced timber from places like the United States," continued Moore. "Our companies are losing $460 million in business each year. Further, the existence of illegal logging undermines public confidence in the forest products industry as a whole."

In 2003, AF&PA joined with the U.S. Department of State, Conservation International (CI) and others to announce the launch of the President's Initiative Against Illegal Logging. The negotiations announced today are a part of that initiative. And in 2005, AF&PA joined with CI to create the Alliance to Combat Illegal Logging, a partnership designed to help put a halt to timber operations in national parks and other protected areas.

SOURCE: The American Forest & Paper Association

PaperAge. Copyright © O'Brien Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.