Indonesia and China will cooperate to ensure legal wood trading between them to comply with rules on certification of origin under the US Lacey Act.
Hadi Daryanto, Indonesia's director general of forest product development in the ministry of forestry, said last week the two countries had agreed to sign an MoU to cooperate on the management and certification of forest products.
Hadi said this would include exchange of data on imports and exports of wood products, and exchanges between government officials to learn about product management and certification.
"China appreciates we have adopted certification of forests and forest products and wants to learn from us how to strengthen implementation of sustainable management of forests and forest-based industries," he said.
The Indonesian government has introduced a new system of certifying the country's forest management and wood products enabling it to benefit from the Lacey Act in the US, which requires all importers and exporters to specify the origins of their products.
To introduce this, the US government has been sponsoring seminars to promote the sustainable management of forest products, including one last week in Jakarta.
The US also recently sponsored a dialogue on legal wood trading in Jakarta. The US delegation said that it would pursue similar dialogues with other Asian countries, particularly China and Malaysia.
Hadi claimed that unlike Indonesia, which now benefited from the US Lacey Act having introduced certification of forests and forest products, China and Malaysia faced specific problems as most of their wood products originated from third countries. "China realized that for its own benefit, it has to implement legal wood trading. It can no longer ignore the world's growing awareness of sustainable principles, as shown by the recent amendment to the US Lacey Act," Hadi said.
Experts long suspected that most of Indonesia's illegal logs are bought by China and Malaysia, which then export them as sawn timber and finished wood products to the US, Japan, and EU countries. But since the US has imposed the new provisions of the Lacey Act, export products based on wood from third countries now require proper certification.
As its economy has grown, China has become one of the world's largest importers of wood products. Aside from Indonesia, it also imports wood products from Russia, African countries, and the Solomon Islands.
To show its seriousness in promoting legal wood trading, the Chinese government has signed an agreement with the European Commission (EC) on verification issues for legally sourced timber and to improve supply chain transparency.
Source: The Jakarta Post (25/09/2009)