Despite ostensibly having banned timber exports to Vietnam in January last year, Cambodia was Vietnam’s largest supplier of wood by value in the first quarter of 2017, according to Vietnamese customs statistics.
Published by online Vietnamese news site Vinanet, the figures break down Vietnam’s almost $520 million of wood and wood product imports for the first three months of the year.
Cambodia is at the top of the list of suppliers, having provided some $97 million of timber to the country, which the figures indicate is more than double the volume in the first quarter of 2016, when the Cambodian government vowed they had stopped the timber trade with Vietnam, which has fuelled rampant illegal logging.
Second on the list of suppliers is China, which exported $72 million in timber, followed by the US, at $57 million and Malaysia at $24 million.
Laos, previously one of Vietnam’s biggest suppliers, dropped to near the bottom of the list, exporting just $2.5 million of timber to its neighbour after implementing a largely successful ban on the trade.
The figures corroborate a damning report released on Monday by the Environmental Investigation Agency, which alleges Cambodian officials received huge bribes to allow Vietnamese timber traders to strip protected forests in Ratanakkiri province.
The article also notes Vietnam’s own wood exports valued more than $1 billion in the first quarter of 2017.