Forestry dept offers assurances, admits flaws in wake of lawsuit

The Forestry Department has broken its silence after a Swedish court last week penalised an importer of Myanmar teak, dramatically calling into question the country’s documenting processes for timber sourcing. In a public statement, the Forestry Department claimed that current control systems should be “capable of tracing all timber product exports back to specific forest areas and that such products have been legally produced”. But it went on to admit that “multiple timber sources and lack of segregation of these in processing facilities mean that documentation that demonstrates chain of custody is not always accessible”. The statement said it was “now carrying out an analysis of the gaps between this system and what is required to demonstrate to buyers that our timber products have been produced in full compliance with our laws”, with the support of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. The Myanmar FAO office confirmed that it is “currently supporting the Myanmar Forest Certification Committee conduct a gap analysis of Myanmar’s Timber Legality Assurance System”.

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