The environmental protection group Greenpeace is calling on China, the European Union and the United States to launch investigations immediately into companies that may be importing illegal timber from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
A new Greenpeace report specifically accuses the Lebanese company Cotrefor of being a key player in what it calls "DRC logging chaos."
The report says Cotrefor and other companies pay little attention to regulations — often exceeding quotas for cutting down the endangered Afrormosia tree — pay little if any taxes, mistreat workers and break promises to those who live in forest communities.
Greenpeace says the Congolese government shows little or no will to protect the country's vast natural heritage or hold companies trading timber products responsible.
The report also says forest clearance is threatening the endangered bonobo, the ape species that is man's closest biological relative.
Greenpeace is demanding that the DRC fully investigate all the allegations in its report and maintain the existing moratorium on issuing new logging titles.