On 1 July, the Environmental Investigation Agency published a report which claims to reveal one of the largest violations of the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR) ever reported. This involves a tainted supply chain connecting the threatened tropical forests of Oceania to manufacturing hubs in China and to consumers in Europe. An opaque supply chain enabled this multi-year violation of the EUTR. The manufacturer of the tropical-faced high risk plywood in this investigation, Jiangsu High Hope Arser Co Ltd is the largest exporter of plywood in China and a state-owned foreign trade enterprise. It warned that, as of February, Arser’s tropical face plywood might still have been on sale in Europe under such brands as Starplex. It says that European and Chinese authorities must join forces in order to stop their consumers and industries from driving the plunder of some of the last tropical forests in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Solomon Islands. EIA says that it uncovered systemic problems of opacity, likely fraud and cover-up in the tropical-faced plywood manufacturing sector in China, and its connections to European markets.
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