Papua New Guinea’s Forest Industries Association (FIA) has accused the World Bank of indirectly using the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification scheme to impose trade barriers on the nation.

FIA said the efforts of World Bank subsidiary International Finance Corporation to influence banks with its environmental and social standards were responsible for US-based Citigroup’s demand for timber producer Rimbunan Hijau to seek FSC certification.

The association called the FSC “irrelevant” in tropical hardwood countries and said the scheme could only be applied in temperate regions.

It said the World Bank was determined to shut Rimbunan’s Panakawa veneer mill and thwart attempts for a new K30m sawmill in the Gulf province.