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Article on the Meeting on Creation of the Subcommittee on Forest Sector Governance

On July 15, the United States and Peru held the first meeting of the Forest Sector Sub Committee established under the United States - Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (USPTPA) as a specific forum for the Parties to exchange views and share information on any matter arising under the Annex on Forest Sector Governance. The following article from Sociedad Nacional de Industrias highlights the meeting. You can read the article in Spanish here.

The governments of the United States and Peru agreed to create a Subcommittee on Forest Sector Governance, under the Annex on Forest Sector Governance, under the environment chapter of the U.S. - Peru FTA.

Installation of the subcommittee, which took place at the National Society of Industries, was attended by Dr. Alfredo Biasevich, Chairman of the Committee for Wood Products and Derivatives Sector of the NSI, a representative of business.

Before an audience comprising representatives from the U.S. government and Peru, as well as national and foreign organizations, Mara Burr, a specialist in environmental issues from the Office of the United States Trade Representative and Ernesto Guevara, an environmental specialist at the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (MINCETUR), explained the functions of this important working group.

This subcommittee aims to facilitate the cooperation envisioned in the aforesaid Annex on Forest Sector Governance and in turn create a forum for both countries to exchange views and information on any matter related to the Annex.

One of the resolutions adopted by this working group is that parties regularly consult and exchange important, non-confidential information on bilateral trade of wood products to the extent that is consistent with their respective laws and regulations, as authorized by them. Such information includes: customs data, information on efforts to combat illegal logging and associated trade (including measures of interdiction, seizure, arrests, prosecutions, and convictions), the implementation of the requirements of the CITES Convention, and any other relevant information.

The representative of the U.S. government as the representative of MINCETUR agreed that there is currently a major, global concern for environmental issues and in particular the future of forests. This issue is predominant in Peru and other nations that are suffering from illegal logging and land use change for more lucrative activities than forest and lower risk activity, such as those of Agriculture and Livestock. Moreover, Ernesto Guevara asserted that Peru also suffers from the effects of poverty and the presence of drug trafficking.

Among the positive aspects of forestry, the representative of MINCETUR recalled that Peru has about 70,000,000 hectares of forest and occupies ninth place in the forest area, but for its flora and fauna richness occupies fourth place in importance.

He further reported that as a result of the environmental concerns, the governments of the United States and Peru have signed a trade promotion agreement and an addendum to the TPA regarding environmental and forestry issues. "This addendum establishes numerous measures to combat illegal logging and some measures to promote legal forestry activity," he added.

Finally, the representative of the U.S. government exhorted those involved in this issue so that this subcommittee can be a forum whose axis is the promotion of legal forest activity as the main method by which to combat illegal logging, deforestation, drug trafficking, and poverty.

For his part, Alfredo Biasevich, President of the Committee for Wood Products and Derivatives Sector of the NSI, maintained that the Peruvian businesspeople have a great concern for the future of forests, and are committed to the fact that this activity could be viable in a social, economic, and environmental point of view.

It should be mentioned that the Subcommittee on Forest Sector Governance will meet bi-annually and the next two meetings will happen in Peru in 2010. They will be the same as before the eighteen month deadline for compliance of much of the forestry legislation, included in the annex immersed in the Environment Chapter of the FTA with the US.

Visit the Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA) page to learn about the environmental section of the agreement.