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– more paperwork for exporters By Leonard GildarieThe US has introduced new regulations governing the importation of wood and its products into that country and a number of high-level agricultural officials are here to sensitize local stakeholders of the implications.Within the next few days, there will be discussions in different regions with loggers, Guyana Forestry Commission representatives and others. This was disclosed yesterday during a meeting with government officials, including Minister of Agriculture,Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping, Robert Persaud.According to Gary Lougee, a Geospatial Analyst of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Elizabeth Baldwin, a Compliance Specialist on the Lacey Act – a US law that was recently amended – all forest products’ exporters, including those from Guyana, to that country will have to comply or face their products being seized or even legal proceedings.It would mean more paperwork for loggers,Cheap NFL jerseys China, sawmillers and others involved in the export business to the US.While the US will not be coming to individual countries to ensure that wood products do not come from illegal activities, the US officials told the media that their visit here is to sensitize the stakeholders.Accompanying the US officials to the meeting at the Ministry of Agriculture yesterday were Mission Director of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Carol Horning, who disclosed that the visit by the team is part of a technical assistance programme that her department is engaged in with the Guyana Government.US officials meeting with Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud, and other local forestry representatives yesterday. IllegalUnder the Lacey Law, it is a US federal offence to trade in illegal or “tainted” plants and plant-based products,Cheap Jerseys From China Outlet, and the action that made the product illegal (”tainted” the product) does not have to have occurred within the United States. Included in the long list of ways to “taint” a product are actions such as harvesting it illegally,Jerseys Wholesale, trading it without proper duties or other fees being paid,Cheap NFL Jerseys China Wholesale, or smuggling or stealing it.Importers will need to declare both what species they are bringing in and where it came from.The Lacey Act also warns against “lying” or declaring false information on documentation that all exporters will have to comply with.According to the Lacey Law, the initial focus by most local companies is on the documentary burden.“Every importer must file a detailed declaration for incoming agricultural products specifying species and country of origin no matter where the final product is produced. So an engineered floor might be made in China but contain a Meranti plywood core made in Malaysia and a top veneer of Red Oak originally from the United States. The declaration requires that the importer know the source countries and exact scientific species for each component, including material originating from the United States.”The law warned that there is the very real potential for legal liability and this falls on everyone in the chain.“On an absolute level, Lacey allows for the confiscation of goods from anyone – even to the point of allowing the government to enter a home to pull up a living room floor, rip out the kitchen cabinets or seize Johnny’s new bunk bed. Now in the real world, that’s just not going to happen, but that’s the potential extent of liability.”Anyone in the chain, from the importer to the retailer to the homeowner, and even the trucking companies technically share the risk for the legality of their wood in the product, according to the website given by the specialist – www.laceyactresources.com.“It should also be noted that while being certified (FSC, SFI, PEFC, MTCC or by any other internationally recognized program) does not specifically protect companies from prosecution under Lacey.  It helps show that a company is doing its due diligence. Although it will certainly be considered a sign of good faith, the U.S. government does not accept any third-party verification regarding the legality (or illegality) of material.”Foreign companies and individuals can also be prosecuted under Lacey and in some previous Lacey cases (for fish and wildlife, not wood), foreign nationals have been arrested during a visit to the United States and subsequently tried and jailed, the website said.PaperworkThe website stressed that international demand for legality documentation is here to stay, and it’s not just for the USA. Japan began requiring some forms of legality statements over five years ago, the United Kingdom is debating the issue, and even the state of Illinois recently considered passing a law against the trade of illegal timber within the state.“Furthermore, the European Union is currently developing legislation similar to the Lacey Act which will cover international trade with all of the countries in the Euro-zone. (There is rumour that this legislation may potentially require the submission of legality documentation at the point of entry, which Lacey currently does not require).”GuyanaYesterday,Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping, Minister Persaud told the officials that Guyana already has a tough system of monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV).With the US market a US$6M one annually, the country is highly interested in maintaining and nurturing the market, he said.Last year, while global market conditions contributed to a drop in exports of wood products, recent figures for the first five months has seen a 40% export increase, with plywood reaching almost 75%.Persaud stressed that all concessions are being 100% monitored with an electronic bar-code system in place to even track a particular log to the tree stump from which it was cut.Over the last 10 years, the industry has come a far way and Guyana is now looking to value-added services.According to the US officials, while there are no meaningful incentives available, the reality is that more countries are moving to ensure that suppliers of wood products comply with guidelines that are quickly being adopted as standard.Issues were also raised over chainsaw logging in which several Amerindian communities are involved.According to the Minister, there are moves afoot to outfit hinterland communities with mobile saws.However, he pointed out that these communities are being monitored and they are operating in unique situations, since some of the forest areas are controlled by the Amerindian communities and not the state.
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