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LAOS: Government Bans All Timber Exports

With immediate effect,[1] the export of all logs and timber has been banned in an effort to counter widespread illegal wood shipments from Laos. This new ban is the latest in a series of such official pronouncements, none of which has thus far had a material effect on curbing this illicit trade.

This latest ban was issued by the country’s newly-elected Prime Minister, Thongloun Sisoulith, who assumed office at the end of April. It specifies that all timber now has to be processed into finished products before it can be exported. The move is to be enforced by increased vigilance on the part of ministries, provincial governors and mayors. This will include obligations to monitor and inspect the felling of trees and all log-transportation activities

In October 2015, a report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) highlighted huge discrepancies in the official figures for timber exports. According to the WWF’s findings, the official figures for imports of Lao timber to China and Vietnam were 10-times higher than the export figures recorded by Lao customs officials.

[1]  Government of Laos official website

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