Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Logging: U.S and Indonesia to combat illegal logging

The Guardian carries an AP report that the United States and Indonesia agreed on Tuesday to begin negotiations on a trade agreement to combat illegal logging of forests in Indonesia.

The negotiations were announced following two days of meetings between U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman and Indonesian Minister of Trade Mari Pangestu.

Portman's office said in a fact sheet that the new agreement on logging would seek to support existing efforts Indonesia is making in this area while making sure that Indonesia's legally produced timber and wood products continue to have access to the U.S. market.

The Office of The United States Trade Representative issued a fact sheet with the following statement:

"Ambassador Portman also welcomed the launch of negotiations of the first-ever U.S. agreement to facilitate bilateral cooperation to combat illegal logging. During the TIFA discussions, the two sides made good progress on this issue, which is consistent with President Bush's global Initiative to Address Illegal Logging that was launched in 2003.

"I am pleased to report that the United States and Indonesia are committed to concluding a landmark agreement to combat illegal logging and illegal trade in endangered species. This is a unique opportunity to strengthen our cooperation with Indonesia to better protect Indonesia’s parks, forests and sensitive habitats from illegal logging," Portman said".

Ambassador Portman and Minister Pangestu also discussed the planned upgrade in cooperation between the U.S. and Indonesian customs agencies and joint efforts to enhance protection of intellectual property rights.

They also reviewed investment reforms underway in Indonesia as well as additional steps the two sides could take to promote and facilitate additional foreign investment."