18 Oct 2005

Fiji's tropical timbers exported to South America uncertified

4:37 pm on 18 October 2005

Fiji's tropical timbers are being exported to South America, where they're being sold on, without buyers being aware of their origin.

Pine and mahogany exporters say the government should require timber to be certified with its country of origin through the international Forest Stewardship Council system.

The government's certification committee has been discussing the issue for years.

The general manager of Mahogany Industries Fiji, Michael Geitz, argues certification would boost business.

"Especially in overseas markets, your product is not as well accepted as it could be. For example with an FSC certification you probably have a higher return and higher acceptance of your product."

Mr Geitz says Fiji mahogany is hard to sell, and he says issues surrounding the industry are being resolved through dialogue and in the courts.