Laos Issues New Legislation Authorizing Natural Timber Product Exports

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Cut timber in Laos (Photo: WWF)
Cut timber in Laos (Photo: WWF)

The Lao government has issued new legislation authorizing the export of natural wood products.

The new regulation is aimed at boosting production and wood processing, as well as providing favorable conditions for natural timber export to foreign countries.

According to the new legislation issued yesterday by the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Dr. Khampheng Xaysompheng, natural raw materials are used in the export of natural wood products, which are then processed into products in accordance with the approved list of wooden items for export.

The government says that the new legislation is expected to assist in monitoring and tracing sources of timber to ensure they are legally sourced.

The legislation states that the natural timber exporters must participate in timber processing or agricultural and forestry import-export businesses and have a system for controlling and monitoring timber imports and exports, as well as fully complying with all legal obligations.

Those intending to export natural wood products must submit documentation to a provincial department of industry and commerce at least five days prior to export in order to be considered for an export license.

If any government authority in charge of inspecting and certifying natural wood product exports deliberately delays certification or seeks benefits from the exporter, it will face disciplinary and legal action.

The regulations also state that exporters who fabricate paperwork or provide misleading information, as well as those who smuggle timber from unlawful sources, may face criminal charges.

There are 12 categories of wooden products eligible for export, and a further 12 that are prohibited under current laws.