Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Banned rosewood trade up



Banned rosewood trade up

An illegal logger trims a felled rosewood tree with a chainsaw in northeast Cambodia in 2014.
An illegal logger trims a felled rosewood tree with a chainsaw in northeast Cambodia in 2014. Heng Chivoan

Banned rosewood trade up

Despite the presence of a blanket ban by the Cambodian government on all trade in Siamese rosewood since 2013, exports of the precious timber to Vietnam increased in the third quarter of this year, according to Vietnamese customs data compiled by US-based NGO Forest Trends.

Between January and June, 17 cubic metres of rosewood, valued at $38,151, were registered as entering Vietnam from Cambodia. By the end of September, that figure had increased more than five-fold to 90 cubic metres, with a registered total value of $258,983.

In 2013, the same year that Cambodia outlawed its trade, Siamese rosewood was listed by the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) as a protected species.

Under the convention, cross-border trade in listed species must be accompanied by import and export permits issued by both countries’ CITES Management Authorities (MAs), which are staffed by employees of each countries’ government.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Neither the Cambodian nor Vietnamese MAs responded to requests for comment yesterday. However, the Cambodian MA has repeatedly denied having issued export permits for Siamese rosewood in the past three years since Phnom Penh banned its trade.

For its part, the Vietnamese MA has repeatedly insisted that it only allows imports of Siamese rosewood when accompanied by a valid CITES export permit issued by the Cambodian MA.

Vietnam has produced copies of export permits and verification emails dating between 2013 and 2015 in support of its claim, which the Cambodian MA has in turn denounced as forgeries. In September, Interpol was invited to assist in an investigation into the controversy.

NGO Environmental Investigation Agency senior forest campaigner Jago Wadley said in an email yesterday that Vietnam had no business accepting imports of Siamese rosewood from Cambodia in 2016.

“In late 2014 at the latest Vietnam’s CITES MA had been explicitly informed by Cambodia’s MA that that Cambodia had outright banned the harvest, domestic trade, or export of Siamese rosewood,” Wadley said. “Vietnam should have refused all and any applications to import Siamese rosewood . . . from that point onwards.”

“Vietnam’s apparent acceptance of further Siamese rosewood imports as late as 2016 suggests Vietnam may be in wilful violation of the spirit, if not the rules of CITES. Vietnam had reason to believe trade was neither legal nor sustainable, yet appear [to] have abandoned those facts in favour of permitting ongoing trade,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Municipal hall releases map detailing colour coded Covid risks by commune

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng released an official map detailing the red, yellow and dark yellow zones within the city under the new lockdown orders for Phnom Penh announced on April 26. The designation of red, dark yellow and yellow corresponds to areas with high,

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • Phnom Penh, Takmao lockdown extended for another week

    The government late on April 26 announced an extension of lockdown in Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province for another seven days – or longer if residents do not comply with Covid-19 preventive measures and the community outbreak does not subside – until May 5. According

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Gov't mulls extension of Phnom Penh, Takmao lockdown

    The Inter-ministerial National Commission for the Control and Enforcement of Lockdown held a video conference meeting on April 25 to review a draft document on the extension of lockdown in Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal province’s Takmao town. The meeting was chaired by Minister of

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a