Australian imports of timber from Myanmar increased post-coup, totaling AUD 2.5 million in 2021-2022.
Illegal logging and trade has surged since the coup in Myanmar, causing extensive forest destruction and funneling cash to the junta
Timber Trade, Junta Funding, and Forest Devastation in Myanmar
Frequently asked Questions.
What's the situation in Myanmar since the 2021 coup?
Where does the Myanmar military source arms from?
While having a strong arms production capability, Myanmar’s military relies on foreign revenue to purchase weapons and materials. These purchases include Russian and Chinese-made jets, aviation fuel, spare parts, and raw materials from various countries.
What's the scale of the junta's arms import and spending?
How does the junta benefit from state-owned enterprises?
All state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are under junta control. Natural resource-focused SOEs, like oil, gas, timber, mining, and gems, channel billions of dollars to the junta annually.
How is timber involved in this scenario?
The junta-controlled Myanma Timber Enterprise (MTE) oversees timber harvesting. Myanmar exported $242 million worth of timber from October 2021 to June 2023. However, MTE has been sanctioned by multiple countries due to its support of the junta.
How does Australia contribute to this issue?
Direct imports of timber and wood products from Myanmar to Australia increased post-coup, from AUD 2.2 million in 2020-2021 to AUD 2.5 million in 2021-2022. Additionally, Australia imported pearls, gems, and arms from Myanmar.
Is the timber trade in Myanmar problematic?
Myanmar is a significant teak producer, but illegal logging and trade pose a major issue, contributing to forest destruction. Over 85% of timber exports from Myanmar are estimated to be illegal.
How does illegal timber find its way to Australia?
Australia has no sanctions on timber imports or MTE
Australian importers must do their due diligence to they are not importing products that contain illegally logged timber
However the Environmental Investigation Agency asserts that supply chain traceability is close to impossible, making it difficult for imports of Burmese teak to meet Australia’s Illegal Logging Prohibition Act (ILPA) requirements
Burmese teak is also smuggled to other countries like China and India before entering the Australian market.
Australian imports of timber from Myanmar have surged post-coup, totaling AUD 2.5 million in 2021-2022.
Importing timber from Myanmar directly supports the junta through enterprises like MTE, which involves a high risk of illegal timber and conflict timber.
- Australia should sanction timber and wood product imports from Myanmar.
- Australia should sanction Myanmar Timber Enterprise and related state-owned enterprises, Myanma Gems Enterprise, Myanma Pearls Enterprise, Myanma Mining Enterprises 1, and 2, and Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise.
- Any Burmese teak entering Australia from China and India and other countries should be thoroughly assessed for illegal origin.
This directly benefits the junta through state-owned enterprise Myanma Timber Enterprise (MTE) and are associated with illegal logging!