Mourão downplayed Bolsonaro’s speech, saying he was referring to companies that import illegal timber – 11/19/2020 – Environment

Vice President Hamilton Mourão (PRTB) downplayed Jair Bolsonaro’s (no party) testimony at the BRICS summit on Thursday (19) when the president threatened to publish a list of countries that have bought illegal timber from Brazil. Mourão said Bolsonaro was referring to businesses, not foreign governments.

“It’s not the country, it’s the company. The president has made it clear that it’s the companies, he makes that very clear,” said Mourão, who coordinates the Amazonian Council.

On Tuesday (17), Bolsonaro said in a virtual meeting of the group of countries made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa that his environmental policy was suffering “unjustified attacks”.

“Our federal police have developed a method to determine the location of the source of the confiscated wood. Not only arrested, but above all exported. In the coming days we will uncover countries that have illegally imported timber from the Amazon, ”Bolsonaro said at the time. “Some of these countries are my government’s strictest critics for this Amazon region.”

At the BRICS summit, the president did not name countries or explain PF tracking technology, but Folha revealed that he was referring to a corporate operation presented to a group of foreign ambassadors that Mourão had taken for a trip to the Amazon. .

The operation of PF Archimedes resulted in the seizure of 120 containers containing 2,400 m³ of illegally harvested timber that were sold to importers in Germany, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

“This was generally reported on our trip with the ambassadors. [É uma] Presentation made by the regional superintendent of the PF in Manaus and presented a posteriori. It is a question of business, the president has made very clear, “said Mourão on Thursday. The vice-president also said that it is about international cooperation.

Despite the vice’s speech, Bolsonaro’s threat was criticized privately by diplomats for creating a climate of confrontation with European countries.

In addition, the publication of a list accusing foreign governments of purchasing illegal timber would force these countries to react publicly, which would increase tensions.

The wood tracing technology cited by Bolsonaro is used by the Superintendent of the Amazon Federal Police. The aim is to analyze the hydrogen, carbon and sulfur molecules to identify the source of the confiscated natural material.

Both the details of the Arquimedes operation and the technology used in the PF laboratory in Amazon were presented to foreign ambassadors accompanying Mourão in the Amazon. The script was developed to improve Brazil’s image abroad.

Despite Bolsonaro’s threat, Ibama facilitated the export of Brazilian timber to other countries even this year.

The President of the Institute, Eduardo Fortunato Bim, published a resolution in February in which he waived the need for special authorization from the Agency for other countries to import the material extracted in Brazil.

After the new standard was published, NGOs such as Greenpeace and ISA (Instituto Socioambiental) went to court to review the rule. The organizations claim that Ibama responded to a request from the timber companies, who even thanked the agency’s president for the measure.

The NGOs also argue that Fortunato’s decision contradicted the institute’s technical opinion, as detailed in the lawsuit.

When asked about Ibama’s action this Thursday, Mourão said he would not comment because he was unaware of the subject.

In addition, in March 2020, after the Reuters agency announced that Brazil exported thousands of timber loads from the Amazon in 2019 without an Ibama permit, the agency’s president decided to lift the permit requirement.

The Environment Minister Ricardo Salles in turn exonerated the general coordinator for the monitoring of the use of biodiversity and foreign trade, André Sócrates de Almeida Teixeira, who spoke out against the export of wood without a permit.

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