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Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Mark Linscott Concludes Second Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Regional Dialogue to Promote Trade in Legally Harvested Forest Products

Seattle, WA -- The second meeting of the Asia-Pacific Regional Dialogue to Promote Trade in Legally Harvested Forest Products, a regional meeting co-convened by the United States and Indonesia, concluded here after two days of talks. In addition to the United States and Indonesia, countries participating in the dialogue included Australia, Cambodia, China, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Thailand 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, Commerce, Justice and the Agency for International Development.

“This second meeting of the Regional Dialogue continued the constructive discussions that we started last year in Jakarta. We exchanged information, described our respective efforts and explored collaborative, regional approaches to address the challenges associated with promoting legal trade and combating illegal trade,” AUSTR Linscott said.

The United States and Indonesia co-convened and co-chaired the meeting that included officials from trade, forestry and other ministries from the participating countries. Delegates considered a variety of approaches to promote legal trade and sustainable forest management in the region. The two-day meeting finished with a public briefing for stakeholders, including industry, environmental NGO representatives and academics. The United States and Indonesia developed this initiative through their bilateral Working Group on Combating Illegal Logging and Associated Trade in recognition of the potential importance of a regional approach to these challenges. The Indonesian delegation was led by Dr. Agus Sarsito, Director of the International Cooperation Center in the Ministry of Forestry.

BACKGROUND

The U.S.-Indonesia Working Group on Combating Illegal Logging and Associated Trade was created by a first-of-its-kind Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cooperation to Combat Illegal Logging and Associated Trade that was signed in 2006. The MOU was developed under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement and was signed by 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 first meeting of the broader Regional Dialogue took place in Jakarta, Indonesia in September 2009 and included nine Asia-Pacific countries that share concerns with illegal logging and associated international trade. Based on the success of that meeting, the United States and Indonesia agreed to move forward with a larger group of countries in the region.