Booming illegal timber | Vietnamese companies operating in Cameroon
Following a three year investigation in Cameroon and Vietnam, the Centre pour l’Environnement et le Développement (CED) and the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) released today Tainted Timber, Tarnished Temples, a report showing how several Vietnamese companies operating in Cameroon are at the heart of a booming illegal timber trade between Cameroon and Vietnam. CED and EIA’s report include evidence of illegal harvest, laundering schemes covered by paperwork, misdeclaration, and widespread violations of Cameroonian export and labor laws. Timber traffickers’ operations undermine current efforts to combat the import of illegal timber into Vietnam. Additionally, the illegal timber trade has defiled many Vietnamese temples, where Cameroonian timber has become increasingly central to construction and renovation projects.
In recent years, the timber trade between the Congo Basin and Vietnam has exploded, linking the future of some of the world’s last remaining intact forests to one of the fastest growing Asian timber processing hubs. In 2005, the Congo Basin accounted for seven percent of Vietnam's timber imports by value; by 2019, this figure had jumped to 73 percent. Cameroon is by far the largest timber exporter from the Congo Basin to Vietnam, and now the leading country for sourcing tropical logs, accounting for 37 percent of the tropical logs imported by Vietnam between 2017 and 2019, valued at over US$880 million.
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