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Trade and Sustainable Management of Natural Resources

The President has called for new policies to advance a cleaner environment, a stronger response to the challenge of climate change and more sustainable natural resources and energy supplies. USTR's Environment Office is working to make trade a part of the tool kit of solutions for addressing a number of international environmental challenges.

Marine Fisheries

USTR participates in U.S. policymaking regarding trade-related aspects of the compliance regimes of Regional Fisheries Management Organizations, including the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT), the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission and the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). USTR is also participating in the negotiation of a new agreement in the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Port State Measures to address Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act of 2006

USTR works with the National Marine Fisheries Service to implement the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act of 2006, which established the basic conservation and management framework for U.S. fisheries. The Act contains a number of international provisions, including those providing for consideration of trade measures to address Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing and bycatch of protected living marine resources.


The United States has been a leader in promoting sustainable forest management and in drawing international attention to the economic and environmental consequences of illegal logging and associated trade.

USTR has led U.S. efforts to address this issue through trade-related agreements, as illustrated by three innovative initiatives: a bilateral agreement with Indonesia, negotiated under the US-Indonesia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement; a bilateral agreement with China, negotiated under the Strategic Economic Dialogue; and the Annex on Forest Sector Governance of the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement.

Common elements in these efforts include consultation, especially among relevant ministries, transparency including improved information about markets and trade, capacity building, partnerships between governments and the private sector, including both commercial interests and NGOs, and enforcing obligations.

Illegal Logging Memorandum Of Understanding with Indonesia

The United States and Indonesia concluded a first-of-its-kind Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on combating illegal logging in the context of our Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). The MOU establishes a working group under the TIFA to share information on timber trade, including information on illegally-produced timber products, and cooperation in law enforcement activities.

The United States committed $1 million to fund supporting projects, such as training for customs and law enforcement officials, technical assistance for Indonesia's efforts to develop a legality standard and enhancing partnerships with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector.  The agreement is designed to promote forest conservation by combating illegal logging and associated trade, and to help ensure that Indonesia's legally-produced timber and wood products continue to have access to markets in the United States and elsewhere.

Illegal Logging MOU with China

The United States and China, two of the largest importers and exporters of forest products, concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on combating illegal logging and associated trade under the Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED).

A central element of the MOU is the creation of a bilateral forum to enhance cooperation between the two countries. The forum is being used to identify priority activities for cooperation, to promote trade in forest products from legally-harvested resources, to facilitate information sharing, and to encourage public-private partnerships.

PTPA Annex of Forest Sector Governance

The Environment Chapter of the US-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA) includes a first-ever Annex on Forest Sector Governance. The Annex recognizes the environmental and economic consequences of trade associated with illegal logging, and illegal trade in wildlife and provides for concrete steps that the Parties will take to enhance forest sector governance and promote legal trade in timber products.  Additional information is available here.

Lacey Act

The U.S. Lacey Act (16 U.S.C 3371 et seq.) is one of the oldest wildlife protetction and anti-trafficking statutes. As amended, it makes it unlawful to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase in interstate or foreign commerce any plant, with some limited exceptions, taken or traded in violation of the laws of the United States, a U.S. State or a foreign country.

Recent amendments to the Lacey Act provide a new enforcement tool to help the United States to support the efforts of other countries, and our own states, to combat illegal logging. The amendments, included in the 2008 Farm Bill, make it unlawful to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase in interstate or foreign commerce any plant, with some limited exceptions, taken or traded in violation of the laws of a U.S. state and most foreign laws.

The amendments also introduced the requirement of a plant import declaration. The declaration must contain, among other things, the scientific name of the plant, value of the importation, quantity of the plant, and name of the country from which the plant was harvested. USTR is working with USDA's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and other agencies to effectively implement the amended Lacey Act. More information is available here.

Invasive Species

Invasive species are plants, animals or pathogens that are non-native and that cause harm to the economy, environment or human health. Because the international movement of people and goods can facilitate the transport of invasive species to new regions, the United States recognizes the need to cooperate and coordinate to address this problem. USTR is a member of the U.S. National Invasive Species Council (NISC), and works with other departments and agencies to enhance U.S. efforts to address threats posed by invasive species.