US, EU indicted in $95m illegal logging in DR Congo

An illegal trade of logged timber is thriving in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), it emerged on Wednesday.
The US and European firms are said to be the main culprits in this $95 million-a-year trade, breaking the laws of the DRC, EU and the US in the meantime. According to a report by advocacy group, Global Witness, gold, diamonds and other mineral resources are also illegally mined and exported from the DRC.

Over the last four years, researchers belonging to Global Witness dropped in on 28 of the 57 industrial-scale timber sites in the DRC.

They found that all 28 sites were contravening laws, including tax evasion or underpayment of taxes. There was also the lack of necessary licenses, logging outside the licensed area, logging protected timber species and not adhering to agreements to protect the local population from the impact of their operations, the WSJ reported on Wednesday.

This illegal timber trade comes from logging around 10 percent of the DRC’s forests. After Amazon, South America, it is understood that the DRC has two-thirds of the world’s second-biggest rain forest.

The topmost shipper of Congolese timber is China, the world’s second biggest economy. It dominates around 65 percent with the EU being second, dominating about 22 percent. It is believed that the France is the largest EU importer.

Woods gathered include Afrormosia, a prized species of hard timber safeguarded under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Big-leaf mahogany and cedro are also scarce type logged in Congo, according to the WSJ.

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