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USTR Announces New Asia-Pacific Initiative on Illegal Logging and Trade

Jakarta, Indonesia -- Today the United States and Indonesia convened the first Asia-Pacific Regional Dialogue to Promote Trade in Legally Harvested Forest Products. Other countries participating in the dialogue included Australia, Brunei, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Solomon Islands, and Vietnam. Mark Linscott, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Environment and Natural Resources, led a U.S. delegation that included the Departments of State, Agriculture, Justice and Homeland Security, and the Agency for International Development.

"The regional dialogue illustrates this Administration's commitment to finding effective and creative solutions to trade-related environmental challenges," AUSTR Linscott said. "This first dialogue was a very constructive start to our work, allowing us to exchange information, describe our respective efforts, develop a common understanding of the issues and explore collaborative, regional approaches to address them. We look forward to continuing and enhancing this process, including by inviting more countries in the region to future meetings."

The United States and Indonesia developed this initiative through their bilateral Working Group on Combating Illegal Logging and Associated Trade. The Indonesian delegation was led by Dr. Hadi Daryanto, Director General of Forestry Production in the Ministry of Forestry.

BACKGROUND

The Working Group was established under a first-of-its-kind Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cooperation to Combat Illegal Logging and Associated Trade that the two governments signed in 2006. The MOU, in turn, was developed under a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement concluded between Indonesia's Minister of Trade and Minister of Forestry and the United States Trade Representative. The Working Group is composed of trade, forestry and other relevant government agencies; the Working Group meets two or three times per year and provides a mechanism for consultation and enhanced cooperation to combat trade associated with illegal logging and promote sustainable management of Indonesia's forests.

The United States and Indonesia are working to build a Comprehensive Partnership to enhance cooperation bilaterally, regionally, and globally on a broad range of issues. Two-way goods trade between the United States and Indonesia totaled $21.7 billion in 2008, and Indonesia's exports to the United States of lumber, plywood, wood-based furniture and other forest products totaled more than $1 billion.