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Street vendors selling furniture accused of Illegal trafficking

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Mérida, Yucatán — Those chairs for sale on the side of the road may be built illegally.

About 50 street vendors, most of them from Chiapas, don’t comply with Yucatán’s strict regulations protecting forests from over-harvesting. And they are undercutting legitimate entrepreneurs, according to the National Chamber of the Wood Industry.

The president of the business organization, Daniel Jesus Xool Alcocer took office two weeks ago, and has wasted no time defending the group’s members. He said that the street traders represent unfair competition by offering furniture and other items 50 percent cheaper.

“The street vendors who come from other states affect us severely,” he said. “Their products come from illegal logging, which is the reason why their raw material cost is practically zero … so that they sell their furniture very cheap.”

To transport wood, law-abiding merchants obtain official certificates. But loggers from other states come with wooden furniture cut in the forest, which once transformed is difficult to detect, he said.

Xool Alcocer indicated that faced with this difficult scenario, lawful logging companies will ask the city to force street vendors to comply with regulations.

“It is not fair because we pay taxes, we pay the salary of an accountant and we pay for the rights for timber from legal sources, while they (street vendors) pay none of that,” Xool Alcocer said.

Source: Sipse

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