Froman says he’s ‘encouraged’ by Peru’s crackdown on illegal logging

The United States’ top trade negotiator, Michael Froman, said he’s “encouraged” by the recent steps taken by the Peruvian government to stem the flow of illegally harvested and exported timber from the South American country. “While Peru has made important progress under the PTPA (U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement) to combat illegal logging, there is still much more work to be done,” Froman said in a statement Tuesday. “For the sake of our forests, our global environment, and our shared future, we will continue to closely monitor the situation in Peru and work closely with them to advance environmental progress.” Last week, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) co-chaired a meeting of the Environmental Affairs Council and Sub-Committee on Forest Sector Governance, which was established under the PTPA. During the meetings, U.S. and Peruvian officials discussed the progress made, so far, to address illegal logging, challenges that remain, and how both countries can work together and individually to address those challenges. “PTPA provides a strong foundation for addressing environmental challenges, including illegal logging,” Froman said. The United States earlier this year raised one of the PTPA's monitoring tools by requesting that Peru verify the legality of a Peruvian timber shipment that had recently entered the United States. “The Peruvian government's findings in the case of this shipment confirmed USTR’s concerns, and the Interagency Timber Committee responded by identifying several areas where additional work is needed in the fight against illegal logging in Peru,” USTR said. U.S. and Peruvian trade officials have agreed to double down on their efforts to stop illegal logging in the South American country. In particular, Peru has amended its export documentation to improve traceability of timber shipments; implemented measures for the prevention and timely detection of illegally harvested timber, including third-party inspections prior to timber export; improved the accuracy of annual forest management plans; and has held violators accountable. At the Environmental Affairs Council meeting, the U.S. and Peru also announced the hiring of a new executive director, Dino Delgado, for the independent secretariat established under the PTPA to receive and review submissions from the public about environmental law enforcement. “These efforts will help to promote public participation and transparency, which are key elements of the PTPA,” USTR said.
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