Myanmar’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation has disputed the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)’s latest report which claims illegal teak from Myanmar is being shipped to Europe through the black market.
“All the teak we export is legal,” U Kyaw Zaw Oo, the deputy permanent secretary of the ministry, told The Irrawaddy.
On May 28, the EIA report, “The Croatian Connection Exposed – Importing illicit Myanmar teak through Europe’s back door”, says traders are shipping illicit teak into Europe, avoiding import rules to acquire valuable timber for high-paying clients for use in luxury products, like yacht decking.
Illegal teak from Myanmar is not allowed to be traded in the European Union under the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) since 2013.
The report said the documentation the agency obtained showed that 10 shipments of timber totaling 144 tonnes arrived in Rijeka in Croatia between 2017 and 2019. Invoices put the total value at nearly US$1 million (1.4 billion kyats), although the wood was selling at far higher rates to yacht builders.