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Impacts of the Laos Log and Sawnwood Export Bans

By Phuc Xuan To, Naomi Basik Treanor, Kerstin Canby
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Decisive actions taken by the government of Laos, in the form of a Notice (no. 1360 in August 2015) and a Prime Ministerial Order (PM15 in May 2016) prohibiting the export of logs and lightly processed “sawnwood,” appear to be paying off, according to a new analysis by the Washington, D.C.-based organization Forest Trends.

The report points to a precipitous decline in the volume of raw logs and lightly processed “sawnwood” being exported from Laos to its primary consumer markets as evidence of this success. Exports to China and Vietnam – which together import the vast majority of Lao timber – fell nearly 75 percent from 2014 to 2016, thanks in large part to this two-part government crackdown on exports. The dramatic decline in exports followed exponential growth in recent years, with volumes peaking in 2014.

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