Agency calls for checks on garden furniture

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has launched a report into illegal keruing and balau garden furniture from Vietnam.

The report warns garden centre buyers and furniture companies to be vigilant about sourcing.

The EIA has been probing the illegal log trade since 2007, exposing significant smuggling of keruing (Dipterocarpus spp.) and balau (Shorea spp.) logs to Vietnam's "voracious" factories, in contravention of Laos's "clear yet poorly-enforced" log export ban. Much of this wood was ending up in garden centres and household patios across Europe and America, said the EIA.

A representative added: "Rather than targeting one of the hundreds of companies involved, we advised consumers and importers in western markets to steer clear of all Vietnamese outdoor furniture made with balau or keruing logs from Laos until evidence was available demonstrating legal compliance with the laws of both Laos and Vietnam.

"Because large sections of the industry are not able or willing to demonstrate where their balau or keruing originates, consumers and importers have been steering clear and the message to the trade is clear."

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