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China Tackling Illegal Timber Imports
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The Chinese government on Tuesday said it has been observing strict procedures to manage and control imports of timber and forest products and combat illegal trade activities.


Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao made the remarks when asked to comment on environmental group Greenpeace's report that China imported thousands of cubic meters of illegally felled tropical hardwood from Papua New Guinea and Indonesia last year to supply its furniture industry.


The report said China's demand for timber was destroying the forests in those countries.


Liu said the timber trade was an important element of global trade, adding the legal timber trade had no direct link with the destruction of forests in certain countries or regions.


Liu stressed the Chinese State Forestry Administration, the Ministry of Commerce and the General Administration of Customs were jointly exercising supervision and control over the imports of timber and forest products and were jointly trying to prevent illegal trade activities.


As a big importer and exporter of timber and forest products, said Liu, China attached great importance to cooperation with timber producing countries.


The government advocated the principles of mutual benefit and long-term sustainability in exploiting forest resources and required Chinese enterprises to follow local laws and regulations while conducting logging, renewal and wood processing in wood producing countries, said Liu.


China was actively cooperating with other countries in the protection of forest resources and wildlife, forest fire-proofing and scientific and technological exchanges so as to promote common development, he said.


(Xinhua News Agency April 18, 2007)

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