Washington, D.C. – Today, United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer directed United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to continue to block future timber imports from Inversiones La Oroza SRL (Oroza), a Peruvian exporter, based on illegally harvested timber found in its supply chain. The current CBP denial of entry order against Oroza was set to expire this month. This marks the third time that the Trump Administration has taken such an enforcement action under the United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement’s (PTPA) Annex on Forest Sector Governance (Forest Annex), further demonstrating its commitment to keeping illegal timber out of the United States and enforcing our trade agreements.
“President Trump takes seriously and is prioritizing enforcement of our trade agreements,” said Ambassador Lighthizer. “We remain committed to trade and investment that accelerates economic growth and simultaneously protects the environment. We will continue to monitor Peru’s compliance with its obligations under our trade agreement to ensure that illegally-harvest timber cannot be exported to the United States.”
The PTPA contains an enforceable Environment Chapter and Forest Annex, which includes a requirement for Peru to conduct audits of particular timber producers and exporters, and upon request from the United States, perform verifications of particular shipments of wood products. The Interagency Committee on Trade in Timber Products from Peru (Timber Committee) monitors Peru’s compliance with the PTPA’s requirements. In 2016, the Timber Committee requested that Peru verify that a specific timber shipment from Oroza complied with all applicable Peruvian laws and regulations. The verification process conducted by Peru revealed that significant portions of the Oroza shipment were not compliant with the applicable laws and regulations governing the harvest of and trade in timber products.
As a result of the verification process, in October 2017, the Trump Administration took unprecedented action to deny entry of timber products and exports by Oroza. To date, however, the Government of Peru has not demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Timber Committee that Oroza is compliant with the necessary requirements for the harvest of and trade in timber products.
As this action demonstrates, while the Forest Annex has catalyzed meaningful reforms in Peru’s forestry sector, significant work remains for Peru to address its ongoing challenges to combat illegal logging. The United States and Peru continue to engage in a cooperative and meaningful way to combat illegal logging and work toward improving forest sector governance. USTR and the Timber Committee will continue to monitor Peru’s implementation of the commitments in the Environment Chapter.
For additional information on the PTPA Forest Annex, please click here.