Antwerp, hub for illegal timber trade

Antwerp, hub for illegal timber trade
© Belga

A Chinese company suspected of illegal logging, imported Gabonese wood into Belgium for four years via Antwerp’s Port. 

Antwerp customs blocked a cargo of timber from Gabon last week. The wood had been logged and shipped by the suspected Chinese company Wan Chuan Timber SARL (WCTS).

The US Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), a non profit watch dog group located in Washington D.C. had obtained images from hidden cameras, capturing their activities, which revealed regular logging outside the authorized area and non-compliance.

The timber that was blocked was destined to Compagnie du Bois Antwerp, which has now announced its intention to review its cooperation with the Chinese company. 

According to EIA Director Lisa Handy, Wan Chuan Timber exported timber to Europe every two months for four years. "Antwerp is not the only destination, but the most frequent. Every WCTS shipment is illegal and involves elements of corruption, tax evasion, bribes and the over-exploitation of tropical forest," said Handy.

The Brussels Times

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