China has strengthened efforts to crack down on illegal logging and timber trading, the State Forestry Administration (SFA) said yesterday.
Its spokesman Cao Qingyao denied accusations of China plundering the world's rainforests to meet its booming demand for wood. "The statement concerning the question that China's large demand for timber results in illegal logging and smuggling from Asia is groundless," Cao said at a news conference.
"China consistently upholds and puts into practice collective international responsibility, opposing and cracking down on illegal logging and illegal wood imports," he said. "We have very strict import controls."
He also urged other countries to take preventative measures to deal with illegal logging activities.
China has joined with other countries to fell and process timber in legal projects with cooperation from governments, state-owned enterprises and private businesses, Cao explained. He said China's timber trade would be stable in the next few years with exports not exceeding imports.
Though some wood products such as paper, pulp, logs and timber are in short supply, many other products such as furniture have been exported to other countries, Cao said.
Last year China's trade in timber products saw a surplus for the first time when it reached US$3.064 billion. The country's top timber trade partners are Russia, the US, Indonesia, Canada and Japan. Cao said the government was focusing on becoming self-reliant for timber.
China's timber supply was 325.9 million cubic meters in 2005, which was fractionally higher than a demand of 325.7 million cubic meters, according to SFA.
Cao cited a survey showing that young and middle-aged trees account for approximately 67.85 percent of China's forestry resources, which indicates the country's timber supply is rich and sustainable.
(China Daily August 16, 2006)