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Volume 124: debated on Tuesday 8 December 1987

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To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will adopt trade directives or regulations which positively discriminate in favour of timber from sustainable sources; and if he will make a statement.

The Community's import regime for timber is in general a liberal one, and the Community is committed to the further liberalisation of trade in tropical products, including tropical timber, in the GATT Uruguay round. The Government would need to study carefully with Community partners any specific proposals from the world timber industry for positive discrimination worldwide in favour of imports from sustainable sources. Such proposals would need to be consistent with the Community's international trade obligations, which normally require non-discriminatory treatment as between like products from all suppliers.

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what action Her Majesty's Government are taking to ensure the implementation of the International Tropical Timber Organisation's policy objectives.

The Government support the objectives of the international tropical timber agreement and recognise that they contain provisions both to promote the expansion of trade and the encouragement of sustainable tropical forestry development.The United Kingdom was one of the first signatories to the agreement, and we have continued to be supportive in the work of the organisation.