FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Mike Burita
IWPA Praises Passage of Illegal Logging Provision in Farm Bill
Compromise Approach Aggressive on Criminal Activity,
Protects Innocent Owners That Practice Due Diligence
Washington, DC – May 28, 2008: The International Wood Products Association (IWPA) praised a compromise provision to combat illegal logging as part of the Farm Bill that was adopted by Congress today. The provision targets illegal logging by amending the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 to extend protections to plants illegally harvested outside of the United States. A broad industry coalition led an effort to amend the original version to provide forfeiture liability protection for small businesses that have practiced due diligence in their supply chain.
“IWPA applauds congress and the administration for its commitment to end trade in illegal logging through their global leadership with the President’s Initiative Against Illegal Logging and now through this important provision of the Farm Bill,” IWPA Executive Vice President Brent McClendon said. “Efforts such as these will help countries combat illegal activity and keep forests managed as forests – not destroyed in their conversion to agriculture and ranching.”
IWPA was joined in its efforts to encourage sound and fair legislation by the National Marine Manufacturers Association, National Association of Home Builders, National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association and the American Home Furnishings Alliance. The coalition worked to ensure that the Farm Bill provision draws a clear distinction between “innocent” owners in the supply chain who in good faith trade in wood products, versus those who knowingly commerce in illegal material. Lawmakers agreed and included a provision to place the burden of proof in civil forfeiture cases on the government as provided by the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act.
Established in 1956, IWPA is the leading international trade association for the North American imported wood products industry, representing 220 companies and trade associations engaged in the import of hardwoods and softwoods from sustainably managed forests. Association members consist of three key groups involved in the import process: U.S. importers and consuming industries, offshore manufacturers and the service providers that facilitate trade.
IWPA publishes information on the U.S. imported woods industry and works closely with organizations that can provide market information, trade data and technical assistance. A few include:
- IWPA Grading Rules: Internationally recognized product standards of IWPA are technical guidelines of principal types, grades and other requirements for imported wood products.
- Wood Species Library: Technical data on domestic, imported, and lesser-known species from the U.S. Forest Products Lab.
- U.S. Import Statistics: U.S. import statistics for both hardwood and softwood products.