Green Protectionism and the Lacey Act

April 2011 – A Submission by World Growth

The US Lacey Act is heavy-handed in its approach. Regulatory intervention under the Act is justified under the presumption that high levels of illegally sourced wood products are entering the US market. In reality, this is not the case. This view has been propagated by a political campaign aimed to protect uncompetitive industry. Impartial assessment of the issues is needed before the US Government considers widening the scope of these amendments. The limited assessments that so far have been undertaken show that global trade in illegal logging is largely insignificant. More so, it is declining. Yet despite its faltering rationale, recent amendments to the Act have extended its regulatory powers. Some industry groups have lobbied for the inclusion of composite wood products — such as pulp and paper — under these amended requirements. The technical difficulties and significant costs of including composite products greatly outweigh the risk of illegal sources entering the US through these products.

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