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Thousands of Cubic Metres Veneer Legitimate for Export

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More than 12,456 cubic metres of veneer exports have been permitted despite the government prohibiting the export of all types of unfinished wooden products.

The government granted permission recently and instructed the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to collect information about the amount of veneer that should be legitimately granted export permission.

Latest information collected by the ministry showed that more than 12,456 cubic metres manufactured by factories in six provinces were legitimate for export.

The six provinces that produced the veneers are Saravan, Borikhamxay, Khammuan, Savannakhet, Champassak and Attapeu.

So far, about 700 cubic metres of the veneer had been exported, while the rest will continue to be exported, Director General of the Industry and Handicraft Department, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Mr. Manolack Rasachak told Vientiane Times yesterday.

The government spokesman Dr Chaleun Yiapaoher said recently that among unfinished wooden products, only veneer is permitted for export.

The permission came after the government had considered that veneer, which is wood that has been rolled into sheets that are usually 0.1-0.3 millimetres thick, 120 cm wide and 250 cm long, would easily deteriorate if left unprocessed into finished products.

But domestic businesses are unable to process the veneer into the finished products.

However, Dr Chaleun confirmed the government would permit the export of only the 12,456 cubic metres by manufacturers who had signed contracts with foreign buyers.

This means the government prohibits domestic factories from carrying out any further manufacturing of the veneer, which is part of the government’s measures to close loopholes for illegal logging.

“The government will not grant further permission for a business to export veneer in excess of the amount stated in the contract they have made with the buyer,” he said.

Other timber including partially processed timber was strictly prohibited from export regardless if contracts with foreign buyers were made unless the wood was processed into finished products, Dr Chaleun stated.

He also informed that the government had instructed relevant ministries to work with local authorities to study appropriate policy if timbers harvested from plantations should be allowed for export or not.

The move came after the government issued, on May 13, Prime Ministerial Order No.15 that bans the export of unfinished wooden products, which are made from logs originating from natural forests.

With the Prime Ministerial Order not mentioning if timber harvested from plantations was prohibited from export or not, local authorities were confused with some provinces reportedly permitting exports while some did not. Thus the government later ordered the suspension of exports for plantation trees, but asking the ministries to work out a policy to regulate the issue.

Source: Vientiane Times