Washington, DC - The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) today requested consultations with Peru under the Environment Chapter of the United States – Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA). Through these environment consultations, the United States and Peru will discuss and attempt to resolve concerns regarding a recent Peruvian action to move the Agency for the Supervision of Forest Resources and Wildlife (OSINFOR) from its position as a separate and independent agency to a subordinate position within Peru’s Ministry of Environment (MINAM). This is the first request for consultations made under the PTPA.
The PTPA’s Annex on Forest Sector Governance states: “OSINFOR shall be an independent and separate agency and its mandate shall include supervision of verification of all timber concessions and permits.” Peru’s Supreme Decree 122-2018-PCM, published on December 14, 2018, appears to conflict with this provision.
“By taking this unprecedented step, the Trump Administration is making clear that it takes monitoring and enforcement of U.S. trade agreements seriously, including obligations to strengthen forest sector governance,” said Ambassador Robert Lighthizer. “Since its creation in 2008, OSINFOR has played a critical role in Peru detecting and combatting illegal logging, and we are gravely concerned that its independence is threatened. I urge Peru to abide by its obligations and restore OSINFOR’s separateness and independence, as called for in the PTPA.”
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 OSINFOR to be 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.
Article 18.12.1 of the PTPA (Environment Consultations and Panel Procedure) provides that a Party may request consultations with another Party regarding any matter arising under the Environment Chapter (Chapter 18), including the Annex on Forest Sector Governance (Annex 18.3.4). Article 18.12 of the PTPA calls for the consultations to begin promptly after a request has been delivered, and provides the Parties 60 days to resolve the matter before the complaining Party may request separate consultations under Article 21.4 (Consultations) or a meeting of the PTPA Commission under Article 21.5 (Intervention of the Commission), as provided for in Chapter 21 (Dispute Settlement). USTR will continue to confer with Members of Congress, interested agencies, and stakeholders on the results of these consultations before considering any further actions.
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.