Washington, DC – The United States and Peru have worked together to successfully resolve the concerns raised in the first-ever environment consultations under the United States – Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA).
On January 4, 2019, the United States requested the consultations under Article 18.12.1 of the PTPA Environment Chapter (Environment Consultations and Panel Procedure). The request concerned a December 2018 decision by the Peruvian Government to move the Agency for the Supervision of Forest Resources and Wildlife (OSINFOR) to a subordinate position under Peru’s Ministry of Environment (MINAM), a move that could have undermined OSINFOR’s independence and hindered its ability to effectively enforce Peru’s forestry laws.
Today, Peru’s Council of Ministers published Supreme Decree No. 066-2019-PCM, which annulled its December 2018 decision to move OSINFOR, returning OSINFOR to its previous position reporting directly to Peru’s Prime Minister.
“We are pleased with Peru’s decision to retain OSINFOR as an independent and separate agency, as required by our bilateral agreement,” said Ambassador Robert Lighthizer. “This shows that strong enforcement works. I am committed to using enforcement tools to ensure that our trade agreements protect the environment and advance the interests of U.S. workers and businesses.”
The PTPA’s unique Annex on Forest Sector Governance requires that “OSINFOR shall be an independent and separate agency and its mandate shall include supervision of verification of all timber concessions and permits.”
On December 14, 2018, Peru published Supreme Decree No. 122-2018-PCM, which immediately moved OSINFOR from Peru’s Office of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (PCM) to Peru’s Ministry of Environment (MINAM).
The United States reacted swiftly to this move, and on January 4, 2019, USTR requested environment consultations under Article 18.12.1 of the PTPA Environment Chapter (Environment Consultations and Panel Procedure). On January 30, the United States and Peru held technical consultations to discuss the matter, and then elevated the matter by referring it to the PTPA Environmental Affairs Council (EAC), which met on February 21 in Lima. On April 9, Peru’s Council of Ministers annulled the original Supreme Decree, thereby retaining OSINFOR’s position as part of the PCM and resolving the matter. In addition, Supreme Decree No. 066-2019-PCM establishes a timeline for the PCM to issue an announcement for hiring the next Head of OSINFOR, retains a previously selected representative from civil society as part of the hiring committee, and repeals a previously issued Supreme Decree and Ministerial Resolutions issued to implement OSINFOR’s move to MINAM.
OSINFOR was established in 2008 as an independent forest oversight body responsible at the national level for monitoring and enforcing the sustainable use and conservation of forest and wildlife resources in Peru, including by conducting post-harvest inspections of forestry titles and by sanctioning those that harvest timber illegally. The United States sought and achieved in the PTPA an obligation for Peru to establish OSINFOR as a separate and independent agency, to ensure a strong and independent body with sufficient resources to safeguard Peru’s forest oversight from undue political influence.
USTR will continue to work closely with the Government of Peru and with Members of Congress, interested agencies, and stakeholders in order to ensure effective implementation of the PTPA Environment Chapter and Forest Annex.
Click here to read the PTPA Environment Chapter and Forest Annex.
Click here to read more about efforts to implement and enforce the PTPA Environment Chapter and Forest Annex.
Click here to read Supreme Decree No. 066-2019-PCM.