Department of the Interior

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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.
"Despite Indonesia's serious efforts such as imposing bans on logging and export, and listing the tree on Appendix III, illegal logging continues and international trade poses a continuing threat to this species as well as the highly threatened orangutan and Sumatran tiger that rely on these forests for habitat," Manson added. "Further action is clearly required."

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.

  • Appendix I includes species where it is determined that any commercial trade is detrimental to the survival of the species. Therefore, no commercial trade is allowed in Appendix I species. Noncommercial trade in such species is allowed if it does not jeopardize the species' survival in the wild. Permits are required for the exportation and importation of Appendix I species.
  • Appendix II includes species where it has been determined that commercial trade may be detrimental to the survival of the species if that trade is not strictly controlled. Trade in these species is regulated through the use of export permits.
  • Appendix III includes species where there is some question as to the potential negative impact of commercial trade. Permits are used to monitor trade in native species. Any member may place a native species on Appendix III.

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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