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Protecting Indonesia's Forests and Wood-based Exports

Government Urged to Prepare for Introduction of Lacey Act by U.S. in 2009.

(12/20/2008) Greenomics Indonesia has called on the Department of Forestry, Department of Trade, Department of Industry and the Ministry of the Environment to take anticipatory steps before the United States introduces the Lacey Act in 2009.

The Lacey Act will substantially tighten import restrictions on items imported from Indonesia made from wood and wood products. The new regulations were introduced by U.S. lawmakers in order to curb the uncontrolled harvesting of tropical woods fueled by U.S. consumer's demand for wood products. The new rules, which come into effect in 2009, will require importers to declare the type of wood used in each product, its source country, volume and monetary value in order to pass border controls. The Lacey Act will come into operation in April for all imported wood products and be extended to paper products in July.

Quoted in BisnisBali, Vanda Mutia Dewi, Coordinator for National Greenomics said, "If there are not specific anticipatory steps put in place, the continuing economic crisis in the U.S. and the introduction of the Lacey Act will have a significant negative impact on the Indonesian economy."

The non-governmental organization called on the Indonesian government to take four steps to socialize and facilitate the new market realities of trade in the Post-Lacey Act era:

● First, the government needs to consult and determine if U.S. Custom officials will accept certification from Indonesian agencies, such as the Indonesian Eco-Labeling Agency (LEI), in order to avoid U.S. domination of the certification process.

● Second, the Indonesian government should tasks its ambassador to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to enter into discussions to ensure that the introduction of the Lacey Act is done fairly and that official Indonesian regulations/certification on legal woods products are acknowledged.

● Third, the Department of Forestry should prepare a complete packet outlining all the relevant regulations and guideline pertaining to the legal importation of wood products under the Lacey Act.

● Fourth, the government needs to emphasize to Indonesian exporters that the Lacey Act will operate on a 'factual basis" as opposed to merely a "document basis." In other words, import documents that do not match the actual wood products being imported will result in the costly refusal of Indonesian word products once they arrive at a U.S. port.

Figures provided by the Indonesian Department of Trade estimate the value of wood products exported to the U.S.A. in 2007 stood at US$242.2 million dollars, while paper products totaled US$193.4 million. This combined value of US$435.6 million represents 6.94% of all wood and paper products exported by Indonesia in 2007.