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Illegal Timber Imports

Volume 407: debated on Tuesday 24 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to negotiate an EU ban on the import of illegal timber; and if she will make a statement. [118765]

The Government have shown leadership in its strong encouragement of the European Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) process. The European Commission published a proposed FLEGT action plan on 21 May. The plan includes consideration of new EU legislative regulations to address imports of illegally logged timber in a way that is consistent with EU obligations to the World Trade Organisation. We are now working with the European Commission to develop regulations that will enable illegally logged timber to be refused entry to member states. Successful implementation of these proposals would depend on the co-operation of countries that produce and export timber. The UK raised the issue of the proposed action plan at Environment Council on 13 June with the aim of encouraging the incoming Italian Presidency to facilitate a full discussion at an early time and of focussing the attention of other member states on this important issue.