USTR Tests Peru’s Progress in Combating Illegal Logging
The United States Trade Representative today has called on the government of Peru to verify that three timber shipments exported to the United States from Peru in 2017 complied with all applicable Peruvian laws and regulations.
The timber verification provision is a monitoring tool provided for in the United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA) to ensure robust monitoring and enforcement of Peruvian forestry laws throughout the supply chain.
The PTPA contains an Environment Chapter and Forest Annex, which includes a requirement for Peru to conduct audits and verifications of particular timber producers and exporters upon request from the United States, and provides for US participation in the verification process. The PTPA also permits the United States to take compliance measures based on the results of a verification.
The United States first used this verification provision in 2016 to target a single shipment from the Peruvian company Inversiones Oroza (Oroza). Peru’s investigation revealed that significant portions of Oroza’s shipment were not compliant with Peru’s laws, regulations, and other measures concerning the harvest of, and trade in, timber products, and that systemic challenges remain to combating illegal logging in Peru.
In October 2017, the USTR blocked timber imports from Oroza for three years or until the Timber Committee determines that Oroza has complied with all applicable laws, regulations, and other measures governing the harvest of and trade in Peruvian timber products, whichever is shorter.
The United States and Peru have an active record of engagement on timber-related issues under the PTPA. However, despite improvements in some areas, serious concerns about illegal logging in Peru remain, according to the USTR.
The USTR’s recent action will provide an opportunity to test Peru’s progress in addressing this continuing challenge and help ensure that Peruvian timber is legally harvested and violators are held accountable. “We are committed to using all available tools to ensure illegal timber from Peru is not entering the United States at the expense of American timber producers and workers,” said USTR Robert Lighthizer.