At its recent biennial conference in Bangkok, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) decided to place ramin (a south-east Asian tree that produces high-value timber) and agar wood (which produces "agar" oil) in Appendix II. This means that the commodities (and products made of them) can be traded, but only subject to the grant of export licences. By requiring the use of CITES export permits, this decision will improve the ability of the ramin and agar wood-producing states to manage tree stocks. It will also allow both exporters and importers to ensure that trade is sustainable and to tackle illegal trade. It is the first time that CITES has listed timber products: up to now its main concern has been with living species.
It may be some time before the decisions of the conference are translated into law but members trading with the producing states should be alert to the introduction of these restrictions and ensure that any consignments offered thereafter for shipment are properly documented
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