Timber Talks with Vietnam


Tuesday Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Environment and Natural Resources Kelly Milton was in Hanoi to lead the fourth meeting of the U.S.-Vietnam Timber Working Group.

This meeting included detailed exchanges between the Parties regarding Vietnam’s progress in implementing the commitments under the agreement, including amendments to its laws and regulations on timber legality.

The U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Forest Service also provided updates regarding current and prospective technical assistance and capacity building activities.  

The Timber Working Group under the Agreement Between the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Government of the United States of America on Illegal Logging and Timber Trade first met in April 2022.

Announced in October 2021, the Timber Agreement addresses U.S. concerns in the first-ever environment-focused investigation under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.  The Agreement secures commitments that will help keep illegally harvested or traded timber out of the supply chain and protect the environment and natural resources. 

The Timber Working Group was established to facilitate coordination between the parties and oversee the implementation of the Timber Agreement.

Vietnam relies heavily on imported hardwoods, with 5 to 6 million cubic metres imported from more than 100 countries annually.

Not only does this leave the country vulnerable to volatility in the global supply of timber, but it also leaves it at greater risk of ‘high-risk’ legality concerns.

The export value of timber and wood products in Vietnam is estimated to reach over 6 billion USD in the first five months of this year, an increase of 18% over the same period last year, according to General Department of Vietnam Customs.

Corporate Compliance Yardstick

New data released by The Accountability Framework initiative (AFi) and CDP provide a view of companies’ current capacity to understand, control, and disclose on deforestation and ecosystem conversion associated with their operations and supply chains.   

881 companies disclosed on at least one commodity supply chain, for a total of 1,498 commodity-specific disclosures across seven high-risk commodities. Half of the companies (445) responded to questions about the percentage of their supply chains that were deforestation- and/or conversion-free, although only 186 provided comprehensive and high-quality information for at least one supply chain.


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