During the first three quarters of fiscal 2017-18 around 36,000 hoppus tons of timber was confiscated. This include over 7,000 hoppus tons of teak and 29,000 hoppus tons other hardwoods.
In the current fiscal year the Myanma Timber enterprise (MTE) planned to harvest 15,000 hoppus tons of teak.
Against this background the authorities and civil society groups are seriously worried about the huge quantity which has been seized since it represents such a high proportion of the planned legal harvest.
In a related development, since 29 Dec 2017 the Forestry Department has suspended the auction of those logs rejected by MTE because of their poor quality. Such auctions, which are typically held across the country, have been temporarily suspended in an attempt to control illegal trading of Myanmar timber.
Currently, timber purchased by sawmillers during these Forestry Department auctions are not allowed to be transferred between regions and states and products manufactured from these logs shall not be exported.
However, despite the best efforts of the authorities, illegal timber traders and brokers continue to conduct log trading in Myanmar’s border towns. Demand for teak in border towns is driving up prices and this illegal trade is distorting prices for verified legal teak used by domestic industry making it difficult for them to operate profitably.