Trade Bans Will Be Ineffective, Harm Economic Growth
JAKARTA – An analysis by the pro-development NGO World Growth reveals illegal logging is only around one percent of global timber production. The report shows that trade bans are unwarranted, ineffective and risk slowing economic growth in developing countries.
“The level of illegal logging worldwide has been greatly exaggerated to justify use of trade bans in the EU, the U.S. and Australia to pressure developing countries to limit forestry,” said World Growth Chairman Ambassador Alan Oxley.
The World Growth report, A Poison, Not a Cure, shows that estimates that around nine percent of global timber trade is illegal are not based on sound data; that illegal logging is minor problem – only about one percent of global timber production is likely to be illegal; and that all that bans would do is restrict economic development.
“Groups like WWF and Greenpeace as well as the European Commission have campaigned for years for formal trade bans on illegal timber, yet the presumptions on which they are based – that timber traders are responsible for illegal logging – are wrong,” said Ambassador Oxley.
“The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reaffirms year after year that the poor drive illegal logging and that failure to enforce the laws is the problem. The solution to illegal logging is higher economic growth.”
The report also points out that use of trade bans to halt illegal activity generally conflicts with WTO international trade law.
“The principle here is that it would be legal to ban imports if the owner of the exporting company had failed to pay domestic income tax. For obvious reasons, trade controls should not be used for such purposes,” said Ambassador Oxley.
Ambassador Oxley also said that bans were supported by uncompetitive timber and paper producers in developing countries because it gave them “green protection” from imports from more efficient, and less expensive, producers.
“European officials justified the bans as protecting biodiversity, but ignored the 25 to 50 percent of land reserved for forests in these countries as well as the drag the bans imposed on economic development.”
Click here to read the report, A Poison, Not a Cure; The Campaign to Ban Trade in Illegally Logged Timber.
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World Growth is a non-profit, non-governmental organization established to expand the research, information, advocacy, and other resources to improve the economic conditions and living standards in developing and transitional countries. At World Growth, we embrace the age of globalization and the power of free trade to eradicate poverty and create jobs and opportunities. World Growth supports the production of palm oil and the use of forestry as a means to promote economic growth, reduce poverty and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. World Growth believes a robust cultivation of palm oil and forestry provides an effective means of environmental stewardship that can serve as the catalyst for increasing social and economic development. For more information on World Growth, visit www.worldgrowth.org.