USTR tests Peru’s progress in combatting illegal logging

Cover image: Peru’s forests

The United States Trade Representative has asked Peru to verify three timber shipments exported to the U.S. in 2017 complied with all Peruvian laws and regulations.

The request was made on behalf of the Interagency Committee on Trade in Timber Products from Peru (Timber Committee).

“Strong monitoring and enforcement of our trade agreements is a top… 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 U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

The United States and Peru have an active record of engagement on timber-related issues under the Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA), a monitoring tool which ensures robust monitoring and enforcement of Peruvian forestry laws throughout the supply chain.

However, despite improvements in some areas, serious concerns about illegal logging in Peru remain.

The U.S. 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 failed to meet legality requirements, and that systemic challenges remain to combatting illegal logging in Peru. 

In October 2017, USTR took the unprecedented action of blocking timber imports from Oroza for three years or until the Timber Committee determines that Oroza has complied with all applicable laws and environmental regulations.

The USTR said America’s 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.