31 Jul 2018

Illegal logging in PNG risky for Chinese businesses- report

2:32 pm on 31 July 2018

A new report says that illegal logging in Papua New Guinea could be risky to its main trading partner; China.

Logs cut from a Special Agricultural Business Lease in Turubu, Papua New Guinea, destined for export.

Photo: Global Witness

Environmental NGO Global Witness released a report today that is based on observations of eight of the largest logging operations in PNG.

Its policy advisor Lela Stanley said all of the operations they observed had been breaking forestry laws, but were still exporting wood.

She said with over 85 percent of PNG's wood exports going to China, businesses there that receive the wood face commercial and legal risks.

"China, unlike most major economies doesn't have any mandatory checks on the timber coming into its borders to make sure that it's actually legal.

"We're arguing that is really a growing commercial and legal risk for Chinese businesses because they're buying timber from places like Papua New Guinea that have quite high risks of producing illegal timber and selling on to sensitive jurisdictions such as the US and the EU."

She said it was also a risk for the PNG government, because it showed that it wasn't upholding its obligations to its people.

It also showed PNG as a risky trading partner - which isn't a good look the government holding the APEC Summit later this year, she said.

"So [the government] will want to put on the best show possible and make the case for it being a good trading partner and as this repot shows, at least in the forestry sector it is consistently failing to enforce its own laws."

Lela Stanley also said illegal logging was having a huge impact on the ecology and environment in PNG, and that every year that the government failed to enforce its own forestry laws, the worse the issue was becoming.

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