Shipment of teak and tamalan seized at port

Despite the efforts of the timber trade and government to stamp out illegal practices and eventually negotiate a VPA with the EU a shipment of around 500 tons of illegal teak and padauk/tamalan were recently seized in Yangon Port.

The smugglers had tried to avoid the export restrictions and many believe that for the shipment to have got as far as the port suggests the smugglers had help from officials along the supply chain.

U Barber Cho, Secretary of the Myanmar Forest Certification Committee, said “that since this attempt at smuggling was done outside of the formal supply chain under which exporters comply with government regulations this single incidence should not be considered as reflecting a weakness in the control system”.

Cho praised the seizure of this illegal shipment and said “it was mainly caused by weak law enforcement and possibly corruption and that there will always be those who try to find loopholes in the formal supply chain.
According to a news release from the Myanmar Customs Department, 202 companies have, so far, been permitted to export 197,512 tons of timber in the current fiscal year (1 April 2016 to 30 April 2017.

Myanmar introduced a log export ban in April 2014 and at the same time the Forest Department banned the export of other type of products, baulks, boules and hand hewn squared logs.

The news release from Customs did not specify the value or species. Analysts point to the need for better information since 197,512 tons, if all were teak, would have generated some US$400 million! They comment that timber exports have never achieved such a value suggesting the figures from Customs need further clarification.

Source: IHB

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