Govt rejects China’s request for timber-based industrial zone in Myanmar

The Myanmar government has rejected China’s requests to purchase timber in log form under a tender system and to build a timber-based industrial zone in Myanmar, said Khin Maung Yi, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry.

Rumours have circulated recently about Myanmar signing an MoU with China to facilitate the trading and cultivating of timber; they have since been dismissed by the Myanmar government.

“The Chinese government’s representative group came to us. We held a discussion with civic organisations. They requested the establishment of a timber-based industrial zone in Myanmar, perhaps in Lashi or Muse, for log trading. Our ministry replied that this would not be possible,” said Khin Maung Yi.

China’s request came after several visits by Myanmar officials to China in an attempt to curb illegal timber smuggling perpetrated by Chinese nationals.

During the Myanmar representatives’ negotiations in China, Chinese officials promised to cooperate and said: “Logs from Myanmar entering through any route and from any region will not be allowed.”

China earned US$2.7 billion from the illegal log trade with Myanmar between 2000 and 2014 and also earned $4.6 billion in profit from transforming illegally-traded tamalan timber into finished industrial products in 2014 alone.

The UK-based Environmental Investigation Agency has stated that China recovering its own forests by illegally importing timber from Myanmar. China is ranked among the countries with highest rates of forest recovery according to an EIA statement released on September 7, 015, while Myanmar tops in the list of countries with the highest deforestation rates.

Myanmar’s official timber production rate has been enormously reduced by illegal trading and processing, said Khin Maung Yi on January 12.

Source: ELEVEN

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