The EU-Japan Free Trade Deal: a threat to the fight against illegal timber?
The Japan-EU Free Trade Agreement is likely to boost incentives for illegal or unsustainable practices in many countries where Japan sources its timber and wood products. It could also sabotage the EU’s own fight against illegal timber. The increased pressure on the world’s forests the pact is likely to herald, is down to three things. First, Japan’s long history of importing illegal wood products. Second, its toothless laws to prevent this happening. Third, the weak text of the EU-Japan agreement. Without significant changes, the free trade deal’s consequences will be profound. It will notably lower the bar on efforts to combat the international illegal timber trade, essentially discouraging other nations from initiating tough laws against it, while undermining the EU’s attempts to mobilise countries to tackle illegal logging through national legislation, such as the Voluntary Partnership Agreement trade deals with timber-producing countries.