The United States and states in the western United States have banned the export of unprocessed, or raw, logs from public lands. WTO rules prohibit such export bans.
WTO rules create obstacles for eco-labeling because it is based on how the product is produced, not simply on the product's characteristics. Eco-labeling enables consumers to identify and purchase items made from forest products produced in a sustainable and environmentally sound manner.
2. The WTO rules define virtually all obstacles to trade as unfair trade barriers even if they are designed to protect the environment. While the WTO has exceptions for conserving natural resources, those exceptions have been construed so narrowly that most forest protections are not covered.
3. Forest product liberalization has implications for sustainable forestry management, biodiversity, climate change and sustainable production and consumption patterns. Governments should not place zero tariffs on forest products, nor constrain non-tariff forest-protection measures, without first undertaking adequate environmental assessment.