In an article recently published in Superyacht Business magazine it was reported that there was to be a total ban on teak exports from Myanmar. The magazine stated that; “A ban on virgin teak wood due to come into force on April 1, 2014 in Myanmar (formerly Burma) means that the luxury yacht industry may have to find alternatives to teak decking.” has been informed that, contrary to this information, it will only be logs that will be banned from export.

As a result of the misinformation, there is allegedly some confusion circulating around the superyacht industry surrounding the upcoming ban in Myanmar. Bob Steber, managing director at Ginnacle Import Export Pte. Ltd. approached to clarify the misunderstanding after recently returning from a few days in Myanmar where he discussed the impending teak ban with the relevant authorities.

The export of processed teak, Steber upholds, will not be stopped and teak such as sawn timber, veneer, yacht decking, interior flooring and furniture parts will still be available.

Bob Steber, managing director at Ginnacle Import Export Pte. Ltd.

“According to the authorities I spoke with,” explains Steber, “This ban, at its present structure is only on the export of round logs which have previously been exported in large volumes to be cut in Thailand, India, Singapore, Malaysia, China and other countries for their domestic consumption as well as further exports. The ban on round logs is intended to create more jobs internally for Myanmar citizens. As such, round log exports will be stopped 1 April, 2014.”

Whilst this may be a less restrictive interpretation than some originally thought, the ban still may not be without impact on the yachting industry. “Processed teak may not be as readily available as when large quantities of logs were cut outside Burma,” Steber adds, “Because many sawmills in Burma have faced several years of hardship from the sanctions imposed by the USA and EU governments. It’s almost certain that prices will escalate because lower volumes will be available.”

In a seminar held in Myanmar on the EU Timber Regulation and wider EU market requirements, U Win Tun, Minister for Environmental Conservation and Forestry confirmed this reason for the ban. “In the past, we couldn’t export finished products for various reasons,” Win Tun stated. “But now we will try to export [finished] products and we will halt logs exports.”

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