Vietnam Imports Cambodian Timber Despite Ban

After tumbling in April, Cambodia’s timber exports to Vietnam leveled off in May, according to the latest Vietnamese customs data obtained by the U.S. NGO Forest Trends.

Cambodia imposed a ban on all timber exports to Vietnam in January last year in a tacit admission that much of the trade was illegal and has since claimed the blockade has largely held.

Vietnamese customs data, however, shows 28,000 cubic meters of logs and sawn wood—worth a combined $15 million—made it across the border in May.

It marks a sharp drop compared to the first three months of this year, which averaged approximately $32 million in exports, but matches the value of timber that left Cambodia in April.

Two months ago, the Environmental Investigation Agency, a U.K. NGO, released the results of an undercover investigation that found authorities in Ratanakkiri province colluding with Vietnamese firms to illegally log the area’s protected forests and move some 300,000 cubic meters across the border over the last dry season.

The Environment Ministry says it is investigating the findings.

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