According to a research by the Myanmar Forest Department (FD), 39 main routes are used for transporting illegal timber across Myanmar’s borders; of which 25 are suspected to China, six to Bangladesh, two to India and another six to Thailand.
The FD also reported that illegal timber entering the domestic supply chain are to meet the needs of the people. The analysis suggests it is unlikely that products manufactured from illegal timber will enter international markets.
Improved transparency is an important step for Myanmar as negotiations progress on a VPA with the EU. Local analysts noted that there are many drivers leading to illegal timber trade: unsatisfactory needs of the local people, corruption and negligence of duty of officials.
It was revealed that under the previous government, between 2011-2016, of the more than 2,000 officials fired, almost half were said to be involved in the illegal timber trade.
Seizures of illegal timber have been growing. In fiscal 2011-12, 30, 327 tons were confiscated. In 2012-13, 31,571 tons were seized and in 2013-14 seizures rose to 45,465 tons. The highest volume, 51,725 tons, was seized in 2014-15 and as of this year, 4,600 tons has been seized. In a departure from previous practices, confiscated timber will be sold to peoples in the region where it was discovered instead of being auction by the MTE.