China has become the world’s biggest importer of beef, and Brazil is China’s biggest supplier, according to United Nations Comtrade data. More beef moves from Brazil to China than between any other two countries.
But the Brazilian cattle industry is a major driver of the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. Data analysis by The Associated Press and the Rainforest Investigations Network, a nonprofit reporting consortium, found that a little-known American company is among the key suppliers and distributors feeding China’s hunger for beef – and the Amazon deforestation that it fuels.
Salt Lake City-based Parker-Migliorini International, better known as PMI Foods, has been a major beneficiary of the beef trade between Brazil and China. PMI has shipped more than $1.7 billion in Brazilian beef over the last decade – more than 95% of it to China, according to data from Panjiva, a company that uses customs records to track international trade. Over the last decade, Chinese beef imports have surged sixfold, U.N. Comtrade data shows, and PMI has helped satisfy China’s growing demand.
The report by the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition, published on Oct. 26, said that “critical gaps” in the U.S. anti-money laundering system are vulnerable to exploitation by criminal groups, including those behind the destruction of the Amazon, the world’s largest tropical rainforest.
FACT’s analysis focuses on forestry crimes and illegal mining in Peru and Colombia. The report also summarizes how U.S. importers sidestep the law by not trading directly with the blacklisted Myanmar Timber Enterprise (MTE) but instead with non-sanctioned Myanmar exporters and middlemen based in Singapore, Thailand and other third countries.
ALBANY, NY – The New York Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement Act (S.4859/A.5682) passed in the New York State Senate today as part of a package of environmental bills and will next head to the State Assembly. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Liz Krueger (D-28) and Asm. Kenneth Zebrowski (D-96), builds on New York’s climate and justice leadership and is based on the state’s decades-long success of implementing common-sense procurement reforms. The legislation ensures that state and local government procurement does not fund climate destruction, specifically tropical deforestation, tropical primary forest degradation and associated abuses of the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local tropical communities.
The US Department of Commerce (DOC) recently
unveiled an extension of the deadline for issuing its final
conclusion on a trade remedy duty evasion probe into
hardwood plywood imported from the Vietnamese market.
This marks the sixth time that the DOC has announced an
extension, with the final determination expected on 2 May.
In July 2022, the DOC announced the preliminary
conclusion of the case, saying that plywood from Vietnam
using materials from China should be subject to the same
anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties applied to the
Ashland is the unexpected home of the country’s only full-service forensic laboratory devoted to tracking illegally transported animals and plants. Now the lab is employing a new strategy to get forensic tools to U.S. ports to stop the illegal timber trade.
Florida companies Teakdecking Systems and Florida Teak imported more than half a million pounds of Burmese teak from Myanmar despite U.S. economic sanctions against the Myanma Timber Enterprise, the state firm that de facto controls the country’s timber sector.
Both tout certifications from Singapore-based Double Helix Tracking Technologies, a third-party company that checks whether the sourcing of teak is clean.
Double Helix is still verifying shipments from Myanmar but is unable to do DNA tests anymore and business is dwindling, Thomas said. The service it offers now is to check that private traders bought their teak from Myanma Timber Enterprise prior to the sanctions and to ensure that the teak did not subsequently pass through any facility whose majority-owners were a sanctioned entity before shipping.
Sanctions experts told the Herald that traders are taking a huge risk if they are importing teak from Myanmar post-sanctions, regardless of when the order was placed and how it was stored and transported.
Deforestation Inc. reporters in a dozen countries investigated weak government efforts and loopholes allowing companies to keep trading Myanmar teak, a natural resource controlled by the military junta.
The Deforestation Inc. investigation by ICIJ and its 39 partners found that timber traders in three continents have continued to import Myanmar teak by the ton to supply shipbuilders and furniture manufacturers around the world, while consumers may be unwittingly financing the junta’s repressive campaign.
The reporters visited boat shows in Fort Lauderdale, Amsterdam and Paris to learn about the international teak market. They interviewed timber traders in 11 countries and pored over documents leaked from Myanmar’s tax agency and shared with ICIJ by Justice for Myanmar, a human rights group, U.K.-based news outlet Finance Uncovered and Distributed Denial of Secrets, a data transparency group.
Cases from Slovenia, Croatia, USA, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, New Zealand, Turkey, Taiwan, France, and India are included.
Teak from Myanmar (formerly called Burma) is coveted by yacht owners and builders for its pliancy and water-resistance, but it has a dark side: The country of 54 million is run by a military junta that has so far killed at least 3,000 and arrested more than 19,000 civilians, according to human rights groups. The nation has descended into civil war.
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HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — Russian birch wood has continued to flow to American consumers, disguised as Asian products, despite U.S. economic sanctions imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, a new report says.
- New evidence uncovered by a yearlong investigation by Mongabay and Earthsight reveals the corrupt deals made by Brazil’s largest flooring exporter, Indusparquet, and its suppliers.
- The company was charged in two corruption lawsuits in Brazil over its use of public officials to gain access to timber supplies. Mongabay and Earthsight gained access to dozens of hours of wiretaps and video footage, along with thousands of pages of court records, revealing how the alleged bribery schemes were carried out.
- One of the court cases showed the company used a local official to secure the supply of bracatinga, a tree species native to the Atlantic Forest, for an unnamed “U.S. client.”
- We also found indications that the American client was Floor & Decor, America’s largest flooring retail chain, which was previously involved in illegal timber scandals with Indusparquet, while LL Flooring, fined for breaching the Lacey Act in 2013 over its illegal timber exports, is also an Indusparquet client.
VIETNAM, August 27 – HÀ NỘI — The US Department of Commerce (DOC) has not yet issued the final determination on the imposition of anti-dumping and countervailing duties on certain hardwood plywood products and veneered panels exported from Việt Nam.
The Việt Nam Timber and Forest Products Association (VIFOREST) has confirmed that the DOC on April 15 extended the deadline to issue a final determination to October 17.
The DOC initiated the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation on hardwood plywood from Việt Nam on June 17, 2020, to enforce the trade remedies measures on Chinese hardwood plywood.
The US is currently applying anti-dumping of 183.36 per cent and anti-subsidy duties from 22.98 per cent to 194.9 per cent on hardwood plywood products from China.
On July 25, DOC announced its preliminary determination that hardwood plywood exported from Việt Nam, which was assembled in Việt Nam using hardwood plywood imports sourced from China, were products of China and were subject to the anti-dumping duty and countervailing duty orders on hardwood plywood from China.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative today announced that the Interagency Committee on Trade in Timber Products from Peru (Timber Committee) has directed United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to continue to block any timber imports from Inversiones WCA E.I.R.L. (WCA), a Peruvian exporter, based on illegally harvested timber found in its supply chain.
“The Biden Administration is committed to combatting illegal deforestation and keeping illegally harvested timber out of supply chains,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai. “Illegally harvested timber not only harms the environment and depletes natural resources but also disadvantages workers and businesses who use lawful and sustainable means to make their goods.”
That is not what the Forest Service sees. Too many trees in this corner of the Williamette National Forest are competing for water and sunlight, and some are dying, agency officials say.
Now, the service is preparing to auction off these woodlands as early as next year as part of a timber sale, called Flat Country, that targets nearly 4,500 acres. Conservation groups that have analyzed the project say the vast majority of the lumber the agency intends to cut would come from stands of trees ranging in age from 80 to 150 years old.
US and Brazilian authorities are discussing a cooperation to stop illegal trade of timber from the Amazon, as well as other environmental crimes against the rainforest, according to Brazil’s Environment Minister Joaquim Leite.
“We are focused on preventing the illegal international trade of timber that happens in the region,” Leite said in an interview in Los Angeles on Friday, where he’s attending the Summit of the Americas as part of President Jair Bolsonaro’s delegation. “US support is very important.”
In 2001, in the waning days of his administration, President Bill Clinton issued the Roadless Area Conservation Policy, also known as the Roadless Rule. The directive was designed to restrict roadbuilding, and by extension large-scale logging and mining, on 58 million acres in the country’s national forests. For more than two decades, industry interests and resource-heavy states have challenged the policy. But the Roadless Rule has largely always prevailed, and long been heralded as a major win for conservation, helping to protect the United States’ few remaining wild places. Except, that is, for the Tongass.
The policy’s legacy is being challenged in Alaska, where resource extraction is a key driver of the state’s politics. Governors from both parties have fought the Roadless Rule in federal court. Now, Naukati Bay and the other communities nestled within Tongass are on the front lines of the debate over clear-cutting old-growth trees in the 21st century.
Today, on Earth Day, President Biden will sign an Executive Order to expand his Administration’s historic and bold efforts to tackle the climate crisis, make our nation more resilient to extreme weather, and strengthen local economies. The President will sign the Executive Order in Seattle, Washington—rounding out a trip across the West focused on lowering costs for families and protecting communities from intensifying climate impacts. Wildfires and extreme weather events are growing in frequency and ferocity, engulfing communities in the West and across the country and costing lives, homes, and money. Because President Biden knows the cost of inaction is too great, he is taking bold executive action and reaffirming his calls on Congress to address the climate crisis.
Click here to access the Global Illegal Logging and Associated Trade (ILAT) Risk assessment tool and to download the Forest Trends User Guide describing the functionality of the ILAT Risk Data Tool.
Click here to access the Cattle Data Tool.