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Senior Burmese and Chinese government officials discussed the illegal timber trade, and how to tackle it, at a forum in Nyapyidaw on Wednesday.
The seminar took place in light of the recent bust of a large-scale illegal logging ring, involving dozens of Chinese nationals, in northern Burma’s Kachin State.
“Over the past 20 years, the illegal trade of forestry resources has grown and operations have spread, not only at the border region but also to the west of the Irrawaddy River and in central regions. This makes it essential for our two governments to coordinate and prevent these illegal trades,” said Burma’s Deputy Environmental Conservation and Forestry Minister, Aye Myin Maung, in his opening speech.
“Everybody is aware that these illegal exports are damaging to Burma’s social, economic and environment sectors, as well as the country’s sovereignty.”
The Forestry Department director Pyi Sone Myo, who attended the event, told reporters that over 130 Chinese nationals arrested in the recent bust – a joint effort between the army, police and Forestry Department – will be charged with forestry laws.
He said there had been Chinese nationals detained and jailed under immigration and forestry laws in similar cases, who had subsequently been handed back to the Chinese government.