5 May 2011

Illegal timber deal signed

6:01 am on 5 May 2011

The European Union has finalised an agreement with Indonesia aimed at ending a trade in illegally-sourced wood.

Under the new arrangement, auditors will verify that imports of wood products comply with Indonesia's environmental laws. They will report to a joint Indonesian-EU committee.

Indonesia exports well over $1 billion of timber and paper to Europe every year.

A report last year said 40% of logging in Indonesia is carried out illegally.

Forestry Minister Hasan Zulkifli said this sort of move was essential for tackling the problem.

''Illegal logging is stimulated by high demand for illegal timber and timber products,'' he said.

The EU has concluded similar deals with four African countries. The BBC reports Liberia is expected to follow suit next week.