Cambodia, VN hold dialogue on timber trade
16:55 | 23/10/2018
VGP - Vietnamese and Cambodian officials, business executives and experts discussed measures to enhance co-operation in the trade and management of timber and timber products at conference in Ho Chi Minh City on October 22.

The event was jointly organised by the Viet Nam Administration of Forestry (VAF) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Forestry Administration (FA) of Cambodia.

Experts said the two neighbors share more than 1,100km of border across 10 provinces in Viet Nam and nine in Cambodia, making it a challenge to control illegal trade, including in forestry products.

Deputy General Director of the VAF Pham Van Dien said that ensuring timber raw materials holding legal origin certificates is one of the key measures in Viet Nam’s development policy for the wood processing and export industry, adding that imported wood has helped provide a source of raw materials, contributing to the increasing value of wood exports.

Viet Nam’s wood processing industry has developed rapidly and stably in recent years. In 2017, Viet Nam became the world’s fifth largest wood exporter and the second biggest in Asia, with an export turnover of over US$8 billion, according to Dien.

According to Chan Ponika, deputy director general of the Forestry Administration of Cambodia, the dialogue would contribute to boost “forest industry development, enhancing trade in timber and timber products from legal sources in both countries.”

The meeting would be a good experience and learning that could be used to cope with the challenges involved in cross-border timber and timber products trade, he said.

The dialogue also discussed timber processing and trading; regulations for legal logging, transportation, processing and trading and then two countries’ customs regulations on timber import and export.

Head of the forestry violations investigation and handling division at the Forestry Protection Department Nguyen Xuan Thang said Viet Nam has issued regulations on dossiers of lawful forest products and inspection of the origin of forest products and administrative sanctions for illegal logging, transportation, possession, processing, and trading of timber. 

It allows only timber from legal sources to enter the country, he said.

Deputy General Director of Forest Industry and International Cooperation Department under the FA  So Lorn said that Viet Nam and his country should boost cooperation and investment in exploiting and processing timber in Cambodia, while sharing information on markets, businesses, and wood products.

Delegates at the event said there was a big discrepancy in the export volume and revenue figures reported by the two sides, and called for finding a way to enhance co-operation in information sharing to improve the situation.

Deputy director of the Cambodian Department of Legislation and Law Enforcement Teang David said Cambodia has banned the export of timber from natural forests and only allows exports of wood from cultivated forests.

To export timber, there are quotas, import-export licenses and other requirements.

Viet Nam and Cambodia need to strengthen joint actions in combating and seizing illegal timber from Cambodia and reporting and sharing information on the chain of custody. 

Participants also suggested the two sides should strengthen enforcement of the rules they already have in place.

                                                                                                                    By Vien Nhu

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