Malaysia's wood certification scheme does not meet Dutch procurement rules, independent panel finds; Malaysian Timber Certification Council's appeal rejected

LOS ANGELES , October 25, 2011 () – The SMK, an independent appeals panel in the Netherlands, has rejected an appeal by the Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC) against a decision taken last year that the Malaysian certification scheme does not meet the Dutch procurement criteria for wood.

Last year's decision by the Timber Procurement Assessment Committee (TPAC) claimed the MTCC's scheme only gives limited recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples, U.K. timber industry magazine TTJ reported on Oct. 24. TPAC also judged that the scheme did not do enough to protect certified forests from conversion to plantations and other uses.

TPAC issued a statement on Oct. 19 on SMK's ruling, saying the appeals panel found the MTCC had not provided substantive arguments, and had dismissed the appeal on all counts.

But the MTCC said the ruling undermines efforts being made by developing tropical forest countries to implement timber certification.

MTCC chief executive Chew Lye Teng said the SMK had failed to recognize additional measures that the council had taken to address the issues raised by TPAC. Those measures, he added, had been agreed between MTCC and Dutch secretary of state Joop Atsma.

Chew noted that the governments of Denmark, the U.K., and France and the German municipality of Hamburg have recognized the certification scheme.

The Netherlands accounts for the lion's share of timber exports from Malaysia that are certified under the scheme, at 49%.

The primary source of this article is TTJ, The Timber Industry Magazine, Sidcup, U.K., on Oct. 24, 2011.

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