Strong USTR Action Adds to Increasingly Serious Consequences for International Timber Smugglers

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Washington DC / Lima, Perú – EIA welcomes the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) action to deny timber imports for the next three years from Peruvian company, Inversiones La Oroza. This action follows a verification conducted last year, under the Forest Annex of the US-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement, which found that the vast majority of a previous Inversiones La Oroza shipment was illegal. It also comes at a time where Peru has failed to fulfill specific commitments to improve supply chain traceability and transparency or take enforcement action against those companies who have been trading in illegal timber.

In its 2012 report, the Laundering Machine, and in a petition filed simultaneously with USTR at that time, EIA exposed the systematic laundering of timber in Peru and named multiple companies involved, including Inversiones La Oroza.

Lisa Handy, the Environmental Investigation Agency’s Director of Forest Campaigns, said that, “signals are becoming increasingly clear that the US will not accept illegal wood. Under the US Lacey Act, officials have already conducted seizures of Peruvian shipments in response to repeated evidence that approximately 80-95% of the timber was illegally sourced. This latest action by the USTR further demonstrates that there will be serious consequences for any companies involved in such trafficking.”

“These well-documented illegal logging practices are incredibly destructive to forest ecosystems and the communities that rely upon them. This is an example of organized crime and must be treated as such. While this action focuses on one company, it illustrates a systemic problem that must be urgently addressed, and that some actors in Peru routinely attempt to sweep under the carpet. As USTR indicated, anyone buying from Peru must know exactly where the timber has been sourced from or they run a high risk of supporting illegal logging and the destruction of the Amazon,” said Julia Urrunaga, EIA’s Peru Program Director.