Global Financial Integrity

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Out of the Woods: Trade Misinvoicing and Exports of Tropical Timber from Colombia

Colombia is a nation rich with natural resources, many of which play an important role in the country’s economy, including fertile lands, oil, and minerals like coal and gold. The country is also blessed with abundant forests: more than half of Colombia – almost 60 million hectares – is covered by natural forests, including national parks, protected areas, and private lands. All of these resources attract both legitimate and illegitimate actors and activities, the latter of which present economic, environmental, societal, and national security threats to Colombia.

Issues with informality and illegality in the timber sector have been well documented. Efforts by the government, the private sector, and civil society have encompassed, among other initiatives, addressing transparency and integrity throughout the timber supply chain. However, one thing that may not be readily apparent is the need to identify and curtail trade misinvoicing involving the export of Colombian timber products. This Trade Brief provides an analysis of Colombia’s tropical wood exports between 2009-2018, assessing the level of trade misinvoicing and providing recommendations on how to address related gaps in policy and enforcement. Addressing trade misinvoicing is a critical step towards safeguarding Colombia’s forests and overall biodiversity.

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