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Smaller Plantation Trees Get Export Go-ahead

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The government has permitted the export of plantation timbers with trunks measured at 12 centimetres or less after the raising of a suspension that has been in place for several months.

Larger plantation timbers are still banned from export, the government spokesman Dr Chaleun Yiapaoher told local media in a press conference on Thursday at the Prime Minister’s Office.

The position was endorsed at a meeting between Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and his deputies that took place on August 29.

The original full suspension was imposed after the issuance of Prime Ministerial Order No 15 on May 13 that prohibited the export of all types of unfinished wooden products made of trees harvested from natural forests.

The Prime Ministerial Order did not mention plantation timbers specifically, potentially contributing to confusion in implementing the order by the provinces.

As such, the government decided to put a halt on the export  trade while configuring clearer measures to regulate the sector. Dr Chaleun also disclosed new list of wooden products made of both plantation trees or trees harvested from natural forests to be allowed for export. These include some items which local businesses are unable to process into finished products themselves.

Other products permitted for export included compressed sawdust, compressed wood, white charcoal, internal floor wood, wooden handicraft products, wooden furniture, agar woods that are chopped into small pieces among others.

Logs and unfinished timber products prohibited from export included bigger pieces of wood used to produce tables, chairs and other house decoration or equipment among other wooden products. Large timber chopping boards are also prohibited from export. “This is to close any loophole for illegal export [of the wooden products],” Dr Chaleun said, adding that a detailed list is available at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

Non-timber forest products allowed for export include seasonal foods such as vegetables and fruits collected from the forest, except medicinal species which are specified in a separate Prime Ministerial Order issued in 2003.

Non-timber forest products which local businesses are unable to process into finished products are allowed for export, except those listed as prohibited in a separate regulation.

He said that after taking action to implement the Prime Ministerial Order No 15 that also imposes tough measures to regulate wood processing businesses, authorities in charge have made considerable progress.

Meanwhile, the government has ordered the shutdown of some 1,154 family-unit furniture plants across the country after discovering these plants were not licensed.

Additionally, more than 20 wood processing plants located in or near conservation and protected forests areas were also ordered to close.

The authorities have also seized more than 55,421 cubic metres of timber deemed harvested illegally.

Source: Vientiane Times