Cameroon has become the latest tropical timber producing country to sign a legally-binding Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the EU to ensure the legality of its timber exports to Europe, as TTJ reported. The EU and the government of Cameroon released a joint statement about the VPA agreement, which follows similar deals with Ghana and the Republic of Congo. About 80% of Cameroon's sawn timber output is exported to the EU, particularly to Italy and Spain, and is worth some $362 million annually.
This is good for Cameroon and good for European consumers, who remain as concerned as ever about climate change, which has forest degradation and illegal logging as some of its causes Stefano Manservisi, European Commission director-general for development, said.
Cameroon forests minister Elvis Ngolle described the agreement as one more step - in the country's efforts to strengthen forest governance.
For the members of our association in Cameroon, the implementation of the VPA is particularly important as it should give us the means to fight against the unfair competition that we face in all markets added Herv‚ Bourguignon, President of the InterAfrican Forest Industries Association.
The VPA proposes a control system of timber producction which applies to all markets - domestic, EU and other - and will cover all wood products orginating from the country. From 2012, all Cameroon timber products entering the EU will require a licence showing they contain only legally-harvetsed, processed and sold wood.