Mr. J.E.K. Aggrey-Orleans of the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) introduced the Secretary Generals Report (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/11). The report discusses trade and environment including: cooperation to enhance trade in forest products and services; developing methodologies for valuation and cost internalization; and voluntary certification for linkage to SFM.
The G-77/CHINA emphasized the Forest Principles, including such issues as: technology transfer; nondiscriminatory trade; reduction of tariff barriers; integrated conservation and economic policies; and unilateral trade restrictions. Timber certification schemes should be a consequence of SFM. He underlined biodiversity and value-adding technology, particularly biotechnology, in the context of SFM. The EU focused on: consistency between the WTO and trade in forest products for SFM; linkage with valuation and C&I; credible certification schemes which are cost-effective, transparent, fair, and voluntary; trade in NTFPs; domestic sales; and competing land uses. The US, supported by the REPUBLIC OF KOREA, stated that voluntary certification is a potentially useful tool for SFM, but that IPF must explore the issue, addressing: governance; the relation to national laws and policies; credibility of claims; involvement of stakeholders; and the availability of forest products. She also noted: protectionism; import and export restrictions; and valuation of wood substitutes.
ARGENTINA said that IPF should analyze the environmental effects of distorting trade practices, including tariff escalation schemes, and subsidies affecting the price of agricultural products.
IRAN said measures should not put burdens on importing countries or create new barriers to trade. INDONESIA said IPF should assess how voluntary certification can promote SFM and non-discriminatory trade in all types of forest products. Certification, not imposed unilaterally, and ecolabeling should be incentives to SFM. NEW ZEALAND said IPF should quantify impacts of tariff and non-tariff barriers and consider efficient and competitive forest industries. C&I could be a basis for cost internalization but should not be seen as a snake oil to cure all ailments. Certification may not deliver SFM.
SWITZERLAND said analysis should concentrate on market access for forest products, trade-induced environmental impacts, cost internalization, and certification and labeling. MALAYSIA called for analysis including: impact of trade in all types of forest products on management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests; promoting a supportive economic climate; status, patterns and trends in forest products trade; the case for liberalized trade; discrimination against tropical forest products; proliferation of timber certification initiatives; and certification of substitute products. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA said the document overemphasizes tropical timber trade. The negative impact of tariff and non-tariff barriers should be studied.
MEXICO said consideration of market transparency should be expanded to cover all type of forests. On certification, IPF must look at different standards for different ecosystems and send appropriate signals to the marketplace. The report should make specific recommendations. JAPAN stressed the need to address the differences between importers and exporters. Certification and labeling should be constructed to promote SFM by offering appropriate incentives to producers. IPF should also address full cost internalization, transparent criteria, credibility of certifying organizations, cost- effectiveness and discrimination. COLOMBIA recalled a recent UNCTAD seminar, which noted that regulations often place developing countries at a disadvantage, and proposed a study on preventing adverse impacts on forests products and their production. Voluntary certification could become a barrier to markets, deny developing countries the right to development and hasten deforestation. Local populations unable to place products on the international market may have to convert forests to other uses.
FRANCE cautioned against jeopardizing the quality and depth of analysis on issues such as transparency and stated that concern for environmental degradation should not lead to promoting non-environmentally sound substitutes. GABON pointed out several difficult issues that should be considered at IPF-3 regarding competitiveness, economic efficiency, sustainability, long- and short-term values and capital markets. He cautioned against the idea that sustainable development requires negotiating environmental issues and leaving all else to the market.
GERMANY supported voluntary certification programmes as a means of attaining SFM and increasing market access for products from sustainably managed forests. AUSTRALIA stressed the need to: identify and eliminate market barriers; assess cost internalization in the context of certification and labeling; consider the role of trade in relation to forest services; and utilize the previous work of other international organizations. CANADA said that trade issues were best handled within the WTO and that links between trade and environmental services must be recognized. He called for greater transparency in the process and underscored biodiversity and socioeconomic factors as well as cost internalization.
The NETHERLANDS stressed voluntary certification programmes as a means of promoting SFM. Industrial sectors should take the lead in establishing certification programmes with oversight by governments and NGOs. A proliferation of different labels should be avoided and methods of tracing timber should be employed. THE GLOBAL FOREST POLICY PROJECT encouraged holistic consideration of trade issues and trade mechanisms that ensure SFM. Certification can lead to SFM and cost internalization. BRAZIL stated that: tradable carbon emission permits should be tackled within the context of the FCCC; trade related to boreal and temperate forests, biodiversity and lesser-used species should be addressed; and tariff and non-tariff market barriers to developing countries should be reduced.
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