Department of the Interior
|Office of the Secretary||
Contact: Tom Bauer in Bangkok
|October 8, 2004||
CITES Conference Votes to Tightly
Regulate International Trade in Ramin
(BANGKOK, Thailand) - The member
nations to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) today adopted an Indonesian proposal to
strictly regulate international trade in ramin, a commercially valuable
tropical hardwood mainly found in Malaysia and Indonesia that has been
subject to widespread illegal logging. The United States supported this
effort through several bilateral conversations with range nations and
others through the course of the week.
"We support this proposal
as part of our president's commitment to combat illegal logging on a global
basis," announced Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and
Wildlife and Parks Craig Manson on the floor of the 13th Conference of
the Parties to CITES in Bangkok.
Manson applauded Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and others for demonstrating their commitment to sustainable forest management and willingness to cooperate to address threats to these species and reiterated the United States' commitment to address illegal logging and to identify activities that may be needed to assist in implementation. "We were happy to help move the process along and look forward to continuing these efforts," he said.
Ongoing efforts through President
Bush's Initiative Against Illegal Logging, the International Tropical
Timber Organization, and the Tropical Forest Conservation Act (TFCA) present
opportunities to encourage and support bilateral and regional cooperation.
The initiative has the objective of assisting developing countries in
their efforts to combat illegal logging, including the sale and export
of illegally harvested timber, and in fighting corruption in the forest
sector. TFCA offers eligible developing countries options to relieve certain
official debt owed the United States while at the same time generating
funds to support local tropical forest conservation activities.
In 2001, Indonesia included all ramin species in Appendix III and subsequently prohibited the export of all ramin logs and saw timber. In 2002, Malaysia imposed a complete ban on the import of all ramin logs from Indonesia. Malaysia has since seized more than 30 illegal shipments of ramin originating from Indonesia, many with false documentation. Despite these measures, illegal logging of ramin for the international market still occurs in Indonesia and has resulted in the deforestation of many of that nation's protected areas.
The United States purchases ramin exports in world trade. The vast majority of shipments are wood products such as moldings and dowels, but also include such items as baby cribs and window blinds.
A CITES-regulated species may be included in one of three appendices to the Convention.
Any listing of a species in either Appendix I or II requires approval by two-thirds of the CITES party countries.
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