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21st Jan 2022

EU under fire for its part in illegal trade with wood

Europe is involved in trade with illegally logged wood which can lin some areas ead to loss of whole forests in about 10 years, according to a new study by World Wildlife Fund (WWF), published on Tuesday (22 November).

The report argues the EU imports about 20 million cubic metres of illegal timber a year from regions like the Amazon Basin, the Congo Basin, East Africa, or the Baltic States.

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"As a result, the EU is responsible for around €3 billion of the global €10–15 billion in lost revenue due to illegal logging each year," accoding to WWF report, while the trade is also depriving local communities of their livelihoods.

Britain leads the blacklist of EU countries importing illegal wood, with around 28 per cent of timber that arrives in the UK coming from trees that should still be standing.

This accounts for 2.2 million cubic metres of illegally logged wood, making up 600,000 hectares of forest each year - almost three times the size of Luxembourg.

The UK is followed by Finland, Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands as the biggest EU importers.

On the other hand, Finland and Sweden feature as countries with the highest amount of paper and timber made from illegally logged wood - with 5,1 million and 2,6 million cubic metres respectively.

The UK presidency is currently seeking a consensus over a voluntary trade deal concerning timber.

However, the WWF argues that London should push for more stringent EU rules, suggesting such agreements between the bloc's member states and countries producing timber "fall far short of the measures needed to tackle illegal logging."

"While the aim of the regulation is to prevent illegal timber being imported into the EU, it is neither mandatory, nor does it prevent illegal timber being imported via third countries," says the WWF.

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