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Only Certain Plantation Tree Species May Be Exported: Govt Spokesman

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Only certain species of trees grown in managed plantations may be exported, not all species, the government spokesman said last week.

Eucalyptus and kathinnalong trees whose trunks measure 12 centimetres or less may be felled for export but trees with larger trunks must not be used for export, spokesman Dr Chaleun Yiapaoher told media last week.

He reiterated that eucalyptus and kathinnalong are the only plantation species whose export is permissible, saying that other species grown in managed plantations, such as rosewood and mai du (dipterocarpus), may not be felled for export.

Permission was given for the export of eucalyptus and kathinnalong after a temporary export suspension following Prime Ministerial Decree No. 15 issued in May, which prohibited the export of all types of unfinished products made from wood harvested from natural forests.

But it was not clear whether unfinished wood products made from trees grown in managed plantations could be exported, causing uncertainty among local authorities which resulted in the comprehensive suspension.

Dr Chaleun also disclosed a new list of wood products made from both plantation trees and trees harvested from natural forests that could be exported. These include some items that businesses are unable to process into finished products themselves.

Products permitted for export include compressed sawdust, plywood, white charcoal, internal floor wood, wooden handicraft products, wooden furniture, agarwood that has been chopped into small pieces, and others.

Logs and unfinished timber products that are prohibited from export include larger pieces of wood such as those used to make tables, chairs and other household items and equipment.

The export of large wooden chopping boards is also prohibited, Dr Chaleun said, adding that a detailed list was available at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

He explained the progress made by authorities in implementing the Prime Ministerial Order, which also tightened measures to regulate wood businesses and curb illegal logging.

As part of these efforts, the government has ordered the closure of 1,154 unlicensed 1,154 family-run furniture plants across the country.

In addition, more than 20 wood processing plants located in or near conservation and protected forest areas were ordered to cease their operations.

Initial data from taskforce committees at various levels show there are more than 270,407 cubic metres of legally-sourced timber in provinces across the country.

To date, taxes and customs duty on only 79,182 cubic metres have been paid, generating about 72.5 billion kip.

Dr Chaleun warned businesses that have not paid taxes or customs duty on the remaining 191,225 cubic metres to do so within the allocated time or the wood would be seized.

More than 55,421 cubic metres of illegal timber has so far been seized and become state property. Some has been sold and the remainder will also be sold through a bidding process.

The authorities have also seized a number of vehicles and equipment used for illegal logging. These include 11 trucks used in the snigging of timber, a bulldozer, a log crane vehicle, and a Toyota Fortuner. Some 1,253 chainsaws have also been confiscated and disposed of.

Dr Chaleun stressed that the government has taken tough measures against those involved in illegal activities and that violators will be continue to be punished.

 

Source: Vientiane Times