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Fri, 03/16/2012 - 06:06
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EU delegates visit Burapha Agroforestry

VIENTIANE,16.03.2012 (KPL) - EU Delegates led by Chargé d’Affaires of the EU Delegation to Laos, Mr. Michel Goffin, visited Burapha Agroforestry Co., Ltd (BAFCO). Mr. Goffin aim his visit to hear about the major challenges and opportunities of the private sector in the context timber legality assurance and sustainable business development, while the EU Timber Regulation, a European legislation prohibiting the sale of illegal timber and timber products in the EU under the rules of the country of origin, will enter into force in March 2013. Companies importing timber or timber products must use a system of ‘due diligence’ to ascertain that the timber they sell in the EU was harvested legally. EU is a major global importer of timber and wood products. Although volumes of Lao timber that flow to Europe are relatively small, large amounts of raw timber from Lao PDR get processed in neighboring Vietnam before being exported to EU. last year EU granted Euro 6 million as a support mechanism for the EU ASIA Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) regional programme from which Lao PDR has also benefited, for activities related to improving forest governance and facilitating trade in legal timber. Other activities include communications and awareness-raising, support for Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPA), technical work, including studies and analysis, (co)-organizing of FLEGT relevant events and consultations, and support for customs cooperation. These activities will certainly help Laos to be ready and compliant with the new EU Timer Regulation. Mr. Goffin said that “the EU Timber Regulation is a pragmatic illustration of the importance the European Union attaches to environment preservation and more generally sustainable development when it comes to trade relations. It is timely for all Lao stakeholders of the forest/timber chain to anticipate and adapt to the market changes that are triggered by consumers’ demands and evolving legislation.” Burapha Agroforestry Co., Ltd (BAFCO) is a Lao-Swedish joint venture formed back in 1992. BAFCO states to be the only company in the country that is using exclusively plantation wood from sustainably managed plantations and is the second wood processing company in Lao PDR to receive Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-Chain of Custody certification.