WASHINGTON – The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said it will continue to block timber imports from Inversiones La Oroza SRL (Oroza), a Peruvian exporter, based on illegally harvested timber found in its supply chain.
The CBP’s denial of entry order against Oroza was set to expire this month. The office of the U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said, “This marks the third time that the Trump Administration has taken such an enforcement action under the United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement’s (PTPA) Annex on Forest Sector Governance (Forest Annex), further demonstrating its commitment to keeping illegal timber out of the United States and enforcing our trade agreements.”
The PTPA contains an enforceable Environment Chapter and Forest Annex. It includes a requirement for Peru to conduct audits of particular timber producers and exporters, and upon request from the U.S. Timber Committee, perform verifications of particular shipments of wood products. In 2016, a request by the Timber Committee for Peru to verify that a specific timber shipment from Oroza complied with all applicable Peruvian laws and regulations revealed that significant portions of the Oroza shipment were not compliant with the applicable laws and regulations governing the harvest of and trade in timber products. As a result, in October 2017, the USTR said, “the Trump Administration took unprecedented action to deny entry of timber products and exports by Oroza. To date, however, the Government of Peru has not demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Timber Committee that Oroza is compliant with the necessary requirements for the harvest of and trade in timber products.”
“President Trump takes seriously and is prioritizing enforcement of our trade agreements,” Lighthizer said. “We remain committed to trade and investment that accelerates economic growth and simultaneously protects the environment. We will continue to monitor Peru’s compliance with its obligations under our trade agreement to ensure that illegally-harvest timber cannot be exported to the United States.”
Oroza is a diversified manufacturer of wood products ranging sawn timber to office furniture. On its website, the company says it has had an FSC-CW (Controlled Wood) certification since 2015 and an FSC-FM (Forest Management) certification since mid-2017 for a 34,500-hectacre forest concession that supplies most of its timber for processing.
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