A new Environmental Investigation Agency report has also highlighted forest and logging governance issues in Myanmar.

The latest research from London-based Chatham House forms part of its "Indicators of Illegal Logging and Related Trade" project. It covers 2012-2013 and focuses on Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Republic of Congo, Papua New Guinea (PNG), India, South Korea and Thailand.

It concludes that up to 90% of logging in DRC may be illegal, due to poor forest governance.

"Its negotiations for an EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade Voluntary Partnership Agreement (FLEGT VPA) are under way, but significant progress is needed to develop a regulatory framework and improved transparency," said the report.

It also estimated that 70% of logging in both Republic of Congo and PNG is illegal. Both, it said, had improved their regulatory framework for the timber sector, but lacked sufficient enforcement.

Chatham House says that 18%, 13% and 17% of timber imports in Thailand, South Korea and India respectively are of illegal origin.
"But there is growing awareness of the issue in these countries and Thailand has launched formal negotiations with the EU for a FLEGT VPA," says the report.

The EIA report also highlights industry governance and corruption as issues behind illegal timber trading in Myanmar. Its report concludes that officially sanctioned timber exports from 2000 to 2013 only accounted for 28% of the total.

Myanmar’s new government has banned log exports from April 1 as part of its efforts to tackle illegality, but EIA said more vigorous prosecution of illegal loggers and timber smugglers is still needed.