Indonesia, EU seal pact to stop illegal timber exports
BRUSSELS (AFP) - Indonesia, Asia's leading exporter of timber to Europe, on Monday signed a long-awaited pact with the European Union to fight the trade in illegal timber, a driver of environmentally damaging deforestation.
The deal, negotiated over six years, aims to ensure that all Indonesian timber entering the EU is produced legally, and makes Indonesia the first Asian nation to enter such an agreement.
"This agreement is good for the environment and good for responsible business," said the EU's Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik, who joined Indonesia's Minister for Forestry Hassan Zulkifli at the signing ceremony in Brussels.
Illegally harvested wood represents about 50 per cent of timber exported from Indonesia and 20 per cent of timber products imported into the EU.