According to Globo, the United States seized three containers of wood products at the ports of Seattle and New Orleans and will return them to Brazil. The wood was allegedly exported illegally to the U.S.

“…their loss was decreed for the benefit of the United States government. In order to avoid its destruction, the Fisheries and Wildlife Service was authorized to pay for the return of these shipments to Brazil.”

24 illegal logging camps destroyed in southern Pará, Brazil. Photo: SEMAS

The containers are said to include species such as Angelim, Cedar, Jatobá, and Massaranduba, among others.

All of the containers reportedly arrived to the United States without Ibama’s export authorization.

(Folha reports that witnesses estimate around 3,000 containers were exported from Brazil without authorization from Ibama.)

The requirement for this authorization had been abolished in February 2020 by the President of Ibama, Eduardo Bim.

591 m3 of alleged illegal wood seized in Humaitá, Amazonas. Photo: PMAM

But, in a decision by the Supreme Court of Brazil on May 19, the Court removed Bim from his post, and reinstated the requirement of Ibama authorization for exports. This reinstatement appears to be retroactive.

See: Operation ‘Akuanduba’ investigates links between Brazilian officials and suspected illegal wood trade with U.S.

See also: There is no guarantee of legality for wood

Three sawmills fined for alleged illegal log storage in União do Sul, Mato Grosso. Photo: PJC MT

Globo reports that a letter sent by the U.S. Embassy to the Federal Police of Brazil on Friday, May 21, 2021 states that:

“the forest products were seized and their loss was decreed for the benefit of the United States government. In order to avoid its destruction, the Fisheries and Wildlife Service was authorized to pay for the return of these shipments to Brazil. In this sense, in view of the investigations related to the inspection of exports of forest products, we submit the return of the shipment to this police authority and request information on how to proceed with the return of the seized wood. ”

See: 66 containers of Mozambique timber illegally exported to China recovered

513 m3 of logs seized in the Chapadão region of Santarém, Pará. Photo: 1ª Cipamb

The letter goes on to state that the American government will:

“request the sharing of investigations and evidence produced in Brazil and in the United States on crimes related to the export of forest products between the two countries, including those related to the Akuanduba operation”.

Cooperation between the two countries in forest law enforcement have been increasing since Operation Archimedes in which about 400 containers were seized in the Amazonas port of Manaus.

In January of 2021, following Operation Handroanthus – an offshoot of Operation Archimedes, Brazil shared information with the U.S. authorities about Brazilian companies who allegedly engaged in the illegal export of timber. The purpose was to identify and return illegally exported containers back to Brazil.

See: Samples of Ipe, Jatoba and other wood exported from Brazil are collected at American ports for analysis

Port of Seattle where US reportedly seized wood for return to Brazil
Port of Seattle. Photo: Spurekar

This is a developing story. Last updated May 26, 2021 9:39am EST.

Want to know the forest origin of a wood product? Start a WoodFlow™