Vietnam and the US to end probe on illegal logging and timber trade

Photo: Aaron Burden/Unsplash

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Vietnam and the US have reached an agreement to stop probe on illegal logging and timber trade that will avoid tariffs on Vietnamese timber exports. The agreement was sealed by Le Minh Hoan, Minister of MARD, and Katherine Tai, US Trade Representative, on 1 Oct 2021.

In October 2020, the US Trade Representative (USTR) launched an investigation into Vietnam’s timber exports under Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act, which grants the US a range of responsibilities and authority to investigate and enforce US rights under trade agreements, and respond to certain foreign trade practices.

After investigation, Ambassador Tai has concluded that no trade action is warranted at this time, hence the agreement, the USTR said.

The agreement will improve the reliability and prestige of Vietnam’s timber industry, demonstrating their responsibility in building, issuing and implementing legal regulations, ensuring the legal timber origin in line with relevant regulations of international treaties to which Vietnam is a member.

The US side commented favourably of Vietnam, saying that “Vietnam will provide a model – both for the Indo-Pacific region and globally – for comprehensive enforcement against illegal timber.”

Last year, the US is the biggest market for Vietnamese wood and wood products, fetching US$7.4 billion of export value, about half of the country’s total. In the first eight months of 2021, the export value stood at $6.4 billion, up 58.8% year-on-year.

Source: Vietnam Plus