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Statement by Ambassador Ron Kirk on the Annex on Forest Sector Governance of the United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – “We are deeply concerned that the Government of Peru has not yet taken all necessary steps to ensure complete implementation of the Annex on Forest Sector Governance under the PTPA by the August 1, 2010 deadline. We are assessing the other options available to us under the Agreement, but as a first step, I will be sending a senior USTR official to Lima in the coming days to meet with Peruvian officials to determine how this unfortunate situation can be promptly resolved. We are also requesting to convene a meeting of the PTPA’s Forest Sector Sub-Committee at the earliest possible date to reach agreement on a concrete course of action that can bring Peru into compliance within a limited timeframe.

“The United States has worked closely with Peru over a period of two years to develop and implement legal provisions that would strengthen environment and forest sector governance as contemplated by the PTPA. The Government of Peru has made unprecedented changes to its legal and regulatory regimes to fully implement the obligations under the Agreement. For example, Peru amended its Criminal Code to increase penalties for forest, wildlife and environmental crimes, and created a Ministry of Environment to take over important environmental duties and the lead on natural protected areas in Peru. Over the last two years, Peru’s Ministry of the Interior trained and deployed 3000 Ecological Police Officers. Additionally, the Public Ministry created offices for environmental prosecutors and dispatched a number of prosecutors to various regions in Peru where they will be able to prosecute forest sector crimes.

“We will continue to work closely with the Government of Peru, and will remain in close contact with the U.S. Congress and stakeholders, to ensure that the obligations of the Annex on Forest Sector Governance are fully implemented in the most expeditious manner.”

BACKGROUND

The Annex on Forest Sector Governance, part of the Environment Chapter of the United States - Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA), is the first set of provisions in any U.S. trade agreement that identifies specific action required to address an environmental concern, in this case, the improvement of forest sector governance. The PTPA is also the first trade agreement in which the environmental obligations are subject to the same dispute settlement procedures, remedies, and sanctions as commercial obligations.

As provided in the PTPA, Peru had an additional 18 months from entry into force of the agreement on February 1, 2009, to implement its obligations under the Annex on Forest Sector Governance. The Annex on Forest Sector Governance reflects the commitment of both countries to take concrete measures to combat trade associated with illegal logging and illegal trade in wildlife and further promote sustainable management of Peru's natural resources. The Sub-Committee on Forest Sector Governance was established under the PTPA as a specific forum for the Parties to exchange views and share information on any matter arising under the Annex on Forest Sector Governance.