24 September 2008 | Andy Allen
The Government of Ghana and the European Union have announced plans to stop the import of illegal timber from Ghanaian forests to Europe.
The deal will oblige Ghana to develop transparent systems for collecting timber taxes and ensure legal compliance in its forests.
Meanwhile the EU will establish additional border controls to exclude unlicensed Ghanaian wood from the European market. Development aid from EU countries has also been made available to Ghana for investment in enforcement and auditing systems.
Ralph Ridder, Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade team co-ordinator of the European Forest Institute, said in a statement: "In Europe, a number of large importers have expressed their support for the deal. Once implemented, the systems will allow them to import from Ghana without fear of buying illegal wood and risking coming under NGO attack."
Richard Carter, managing director of RJC Agencies, a UK firm that serves as an agent for purchasers of wood in the UK, said: "We have been sourcing timber in Ghana for many years and we believe that it has always led the way in forest management in West Africa."
The Timber Trade Federation was also supportive of the deal, saying it hoped this agreement would speed up similar deals with other countries.