Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Malaysia hopes for bilateral timber agreement with EU soon

Personal note: Seeing as Malaysia produces and sells more sawn/prepared wood than it legally harvests, it now looks as if we can expect even more Indonesian hardword to come to Europe - and I'm sure elsewhere.


Malaysia hopes for bilateral timber agreement with EU soon

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 10 — Malaysia hopes to conclude a bilateral voluntary partnership agreement (VPA) with the European Union (EU) within this year, to guarantee that Malaysian timber exporting to the country is legally produced.

Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui said the agreement would help ensure the sustainability and legality of timber production while improving the perception of Malaysian tropical timber in Europe.

“We are the first country in the world that has started this negotiation with the EU and we are currently at an advance stage, well ahead of other tropical timber producer countries that had also involved in the same negotiation with the EU,” he told reporters after announcing the soon-to-be launched National Timber Industry Policy at his office here today.

Chin said that the negotiations between Indonesia and the EU had been suspended.

The negotiations between Malaysia and the EU started since in late 2007. It had so far seen six round of talks.

As part of the commitment to fight against illegally-logged timber, the European Commission has taken the initiative to develop its own Forest Law Enforcement, Government and Trade action plan.

The plan aims to eliminate imports of the illegally-harvested timber and timber products into the EU while supporting progress towards sustainable forest management.

Under the VPA negotiations, Chin said Malaysia has asked the EU to give a special priority to enter its timber market and paid a high premium for Malaysian legal timber compared with other tropical timber producer countries like Indonesia and Africa.

“We want to make sure that our timber product has a sustainable export market in future because the issue of illegal logging had always been connected to countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Africa and Brazil,” he said.

Last month, ambassador and head of delegation of the EU in Malaysia, Vincent Piket, said that he hoped the negotiations of VPA could be concluded in the first three or four months of this year.

If the deal goes through, malaysia-hopes-for-bilateral-timber-agreement-with-eu-soon wood products can enter the EU without any further certification requirements, he added. — Bernama