Guyana in UK push to lift Greenheart export ban

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Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman will lead a high-level delegation to the United Kingdom (UK) to convince officials there to lift the ban on greenheart from Guyana to the UK.

A statement from the Ministry on Thursday noted that Minister Trotman and his team will depart Guyana on November 19 and the discussions are slated to end on November 21.

The ban, which was introduced by the Environmental Agency (EA) in the UK in 2015, claimed that proof of sustainable sourcing of the forest product was inadequate.

This has since resulted in a drastic decrease in export of the product to the UK.

According to the Ministry, the ban resulted in several concerns being raised by members of the Forest Producers Association and the public since the banned product is vital to Guyana’s history and economy.

Greenheart represents over 18 percent of Guyana’s logging industry production, of which timber is a major export earner, thus, it was agreed that the Government of Guyana will engage talks at the diplomatic level, among other things to ensure this is sorted.

“It must be noted that Guyana’s systems of monitoring and verification to ensure logging is done in a sustainable and legal manner and has been tested and proven over time; particularly, through our agreement with the Kingdom of Norway,” the Government statement noted.

It was noted that in December 2016, after being advised that a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification was awarded to Iwokrama, the EA relaxed the ban on greenheart.

This meant that the UK began to accept Category A FSC 100% Greenheart only from Iwokrama but continued to refuse Category B timber.

In 2017, the UK agreed to reopen dialogue.

“Guyana sees this opening as an opportunity to fully ventilate the issue and Guyana’s position with regards to the UK and make a case for completely lifting the ban on greenheart imports.

“Guyana will, therefore, take advantage of the opportunity for dialogue toward the resolution of the matter to restart the smooth export of Greenheart to the UK and strengthen the relationship between Guyana and the UK,” the statement noted.

Guyana believes that it has met and maintained all international standards and criteria for the product and export of timber products of all species

The Guyanese delegation to the UK includes Guyana Forestry Commission’s Chairman of the Board, Joslyn Dow; EU-FLEGT Secretariat Head, Kenny David and GFC Deputy Commissioner, Gavin Agard among others.

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