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EU reaches timber agreement with Cameroon

BRUSSELS, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- A voluntary partnership agreement between Cameroon and the European Union discourages the illegal export of timber products, a commissioner said.

An agreement between the two governments requires all wood products exported to the EU from Cameroon to have a license showing the legal origin of timber and wood products.

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Andris Piebalgs, the European commissioner for development, said the agreement was a positive step in the effort to control illegal logging.

"It will benefit the European consumers because they can be sure that when they buy wood from Cameroon, it is from a legal origin," he said in a statement.

Europe says illegal logging has a "devastating" impact on forests across the world, prompting the EU to develop a series of measures in 2003 that spells out appropriate trade activity in forest products.

Cameroon, a main timber exporter in the Congo Basin, exports 80 percent of its timber to the European economic zone.

EU began talks on the timber license in 2007.

"This agreement is a major step forward in our fight against illegal logging and will contribute to economic development and poverty alleviation in Cameroon," added Piebalgs in his statement.

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