August 20, 2016

Ministry of Forestry denies offer from Chinese timber enterprises

A ship carrying logs is seen in the Yangon River in September 2014. Photo: Aye Min Soe
A ship carrying logs is seen in the Yangon River in September 2014. Photo: Aye Min Soe

THE Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry stated that discussions with Chinese companies for the construction of a timber logging zone in the Myanmar – China boarder regions of Kachin and Shan States is just rumour.
“It’s mere hearsay. There was nothing presented by any Chinese companies. They didn’t come here for any kind of discussion.” exclaimed the general manager of the Planning and Statistics Division of the Myanmar Timber Enterprise.
The refutation by the Ministry was in response to reports that spread meetings they allegedly held with Chinese representatives for discussion on the implementation of a timber cutting and extraction zone, as well as a timber planting area, in strategic locations close to the Myanmar – Chinese boarder.
On Wednesday a total of 141 civil society organisations (CSOs) responded to the news reports by sending a formal letter of objection to the Ministry of Forestry and a Chinese company by the name of the Blue Moon Fund, an investment provider in the logging trade and enterprises between the two countries.
“[The offer from the Chinese] cannot be permitted. The granting of permission for such activity would likely result in undesirable land confiscations. There could be reverberating repercussions for the Myanmar public who are dependent on the country’s natural timber resources.” said a spokesperson of the Kachin Women’s Network, Daw Khun Jar.
Criticism has been voiced by Myanmar CSOs over discussions held between the government of Myanmar and China at the start of 2015 over the legal trade of timber between the two nations.
According to a UK based Environmental Investigation Agency, the trade of illegal timber to China from Myanmar between 2000 – 2014 was valued at $2.7 billion, while the trade in manufactured illegal timber during the same time period was worth even more at $4.6 billion.


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