Bolsonaro asks countries to help fight illegal wood trade

The president said the government will step up inspection efforts

Published in 20/11/2020 - 13:41 By Pedro Rafael Vilela - Brasília

President Jair Bolsonaro said Thursday (Nov. 19) that the fight against the illegal wood trade in Brazil hinges on international collaboration involving other countries, especially European nations, as the continent is seen as the destination of a significant portion of smuggled shipments of the product. The statement was made on a live broadcast on social media.

“These countries could collaborate with us. The Amazon is enormous, it’s larger than all of Western Europe. Taking care of all that is not easy. Now, criticism has been potentialized. Is illegal deforestation real? It is,” the president said, joined by Justice Minister André Mendonça, and Federal Police Commissioner Alexandre Saraiva, the corporation’s superintendent in Amazonas state.

On Tuesday (Nov. 17), during his address at the 12th Summit summit meeting, Bolsonaro said the government was going to unveil the names of countries that import illegally extracted wood from the Brazilian Amazon. While bringing back the topic during the broadcast, the president said: “We have here the names of the companies that import it as well as the countries they belong to. We’re not going to accuse this or that country as committing a crime, but rather the firms from these companies. But when we reach good terms on this issue, deforestation in Brazil will decrease. That’s what we want. It’s not enough to criticize. We must show something. And we are.”

The president once again mentioned the method developed by the Federal Police to track down the source of the seized and exported wood using stable isotopes, which serves as DNA showing the geographic source of the product. The government also plans to engage the Navy in inspecting transport carrying wood by water.

“This work done by the Federal Police via DNA, the isotopes, started a few months ago. The Brazilian Navy has been contacted and will also be brought into the picture, as the wood leaves by water. We can build barrier and stop the transport of this wood. Legal shipments are let through; illegal wood is no longer allowed.”

While discussing the topic, Minister André Mendonça pointed out that the Brazilian government is also responsible, adding, however, that the fight against the illegal wood trade must also be tackled by other countries where this kind of product is taken; “First we must acknowledge our own homework; We have to fight illegal deforestation. But it’s no use fighting it here if other countries don’t combat the reception of this material going three illegally,” he stated.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Paula Laboissière / Nira Foster

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