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Lindemann: More effective controls of illegal wood imports are needed

"The import and trade in illegal timber must be completely stopped," demanded Gert Lindemann, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection at the meeting of the EU Agriculture Council in Brussels on 19 January.

In October 2008 the European Commission presented the proposal for a regulation which focuses on the duty of care of people who place wood or wood-based products on the EU market for the first time. In future they must ensure that they do not place any illegally felled timber on the market. This provision is to apply both to imports of wood from non-EU Member States and to wood produced in Europe. Lindemann was of the opinion that this proposal did not go far enough to effectively prevent trade with illegal wood.

Hence the Federal Government is calling for stiffer requirements in terms of the envisaged duty of care provisions and controls by public authorities. "Here efforts should be made to ensure that no disproportionate additional burdens are introduced for German forest owners who manage their forests – often based on long tradition – in a legal and sustainable manner," stressed Lindemann. "Furthermore, wood which has already been certified by proven forestry certification systems such as for instance the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC) and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) should be recognised as legal." As a consequence of illegal tree felling, several thousand square metres of forest disappear every second around the world for ever. Hence the adapted regulation must now be implemented as soon as possible.

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