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Import Regulation
Legality Risks Click for details on legality risks
  • China’s domestic supply of industrial wood has failed to keep up with its industrial manufacturing capacity. To meet this deficit, China relies on significant volumes of wood product imports. Logging in China’s natural forests is prohibited, and domestic plantation-grown raw material (primarily poplar, eucalyptus, masson pine, and Chinese fir) are generally considered low-risk. 
  • Many similar temperate natural forest species are found in the Russian Far East, North America (U.S. and Canada), northern / eastern Europe and northern China, such as oak. There is a demonstrated risk of laundering high-risk Russian Far East and Ukrainian species and falsely declaring them as having been harvested in northern Europe, North America or even China (pre-2017). 
  • More than half of the timber used in Chinese-made wood products has been imported from other countries – both from high- and low-risk sources.
  • China does not currently require traceability of wood products through its supply chain. The size and nature of the processing industry means that timber is regularly mixed from multiple sources with no obligation to trace back along the supply chain. This may change soon pending the forthcoming Implementing Regulations for China’s 2019 Forest Law, or further National Forest and Grasslands Administration (NFGA) departmental rules based on the 2019 Forest Law.
  • Enforcement actions in the European Union (EU) and U.S. have demonstrated the risk of illegal timber, laundering and species mis-declaration on products manufactured in China.

Read more by downloading the China Timber Legality Risk Dashboard here.

Latest Updates Click for latest news from China
August 12, 2024
New Report from ACSS: Illegal Logging in Africa and Its Security Implications

Illegal logging is a growing feature of transnational organized crime in Africa, often facilitated by the collusion of senior officials, with far-reaching security and environmental implications for the countries affected.

April 8, 2024
Investigation: Hong Kong’s Role in Illegal Deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil

Supply chain data – obtained by non-profit organisation Repórter Brasil  – reveals that at least four businesses in the city have imported beef products from farms that have been fined US$5 million for illegal deforestation  through a process known as “cattle laundering,” where cows raised at illicit locations are transported to those with a clean record.


In 2022, Hong Kong imported US$253.65 million worth of frozen, edible beef offal and animal guts, bladders and stomachs from Brazil – or 48% of the country’s exports of those products. Some of this product likely then enters China via Hong Kong, potentially smuggled. In 2019, Greenpeace found that nearly a third of Hong Kong’s beef came from ranches located in deforested areas of the Amazon rainforest.


Hong Kong’s Centre for Food Safety indicates that “Hygienic and humane slaughtering / handling / processing / production / storage and transport should also be observed,” but did not elaborate on how these were assessed.

April 5, 2024
Russia’s New Timber Squeeze: Supply Gap Crunches Producers

Russia is now facing a growing gap between timber production and log supply, with production growing 5% in 2024, while commercial logging of Russian forests has nose-dived 26%.


That is according to Lesprom’s “Russian Lumber Industry Insights,” which reports that Russian sawmills are now bleeding thanks to a critical shortage in raw materials and are struggling to meet rising demand from major export markets.


The problem for Russia is that Western Companies—which provided much of the foreign direct investment needed to modernise logging operations in the decades leading up to the 2022 war—have now exited the country on mass, creating large gaps in the Russian supply chain.

April 3, 2024
How to ensure due diligence policies actually tackle deforestation

New research using Trase data shows that supply chain divergence to meet different consumer requirements already is a reality. Brazil’s exporters, for example, sell soy to Denmark and Norway that is four-times less exposed to deforestation than soy sent to China or used domestically.


The researchers interviewed companies from the Brazilian soy sector and confirmed such segmentation is both predictable and standard practice. While physical segregation of soy grains can be challenging, it has not been difficult for certain traders and regions exposed to very different levels of deforestation to specialise in markets that demand higher or lower levels of sustainability.

March 16, 2024
Rapid development of China /Russia supply chain

A cooperation agreement has been agreed between the Timber Industry Association in Suifenhe City, Heilongjiang Province and the Federation of Timber Industries and Exporters in Primorsky Krai, Russia.


According to the agreement the two sides will build a partnership mainly in the wood industry raw material supply chain, establish a management meeting and communication mechanism from time to time, the association leads the exchange of visits between the two companies, build an industry exchange platform, and regularly carry out activities”. In particular, the Russian Association discussed the possibility of the Association trading timber in the St. Petersburg International Commodity Raw Materials Exchange in Vladivostok and expressed its willingness to set up a branch in Suifenhe City to jointly promote commodities in China.

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March 5, 2024
A customs official in Douala unveils illegal timber exports, highlighting the Wagner Group's involvement and the global implications for trade and security.

In May 2023, Cameroon’s Douala Seaport came under scrutiny when a customs official stamped a shipment of timber, unveiling a complex web of illegal exports from West and Central Africa. This incident spotlighted the notorious Wagner Group’s involvement through Wood International Group, a company under US sanctions since last September. The Wagner Group’s operations in Africa, often in exchange for access to natural resources, underscore the blurred lines between legal and illicit economies.


Douala has long served as a critical juncture for illicit timber, sourced not only from Cameroon but also from neighboring countries, to be laundered through seemingly legal operations. Sawmills and warehouses proximate to Douala and Kribi ports facilitate this laundering, with China and Vietnam being the prime destinations for these exports.

March 5, 2024
Belgium’s Russia Wood Mystery EU member’s door ajar to illegal imports

When Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, sanctions swiftly followed, including a total ban on Russian timber imports into the European Union (EU) from July 2022. Belgium, one of the staunched supports of the EU ban, has become a profitable destination for Russian wood. Using a forensic laboratory at the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, inspectors determined that several wood shipments from Russia had arrived in Belgium. The number of fines imposed for illegal harvests almost tripled in 2023.
“But an impediment is a distinct lack of inspectors,” Wynant said. “There are now fewer than five timber inspectors working full-time in Belgium, but there are 4500 timber importers,”according to the article .

February 25, 2024
A new reporton China's impact on global timber over the next decade.
February 21, 2024
Azerbaijan Timber Trade Surges as China Builds Middle Corridor

Timber trade from Belarus has increased six times since the start of the Ukraine conflict amid fears that Azerbaijan is being used to bypass sanctions. Since early 2022, western sanctions on Russian and Belarussian trade have limited the export of pulp, paper and softwood to nine countries – China, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan and the United Arab Emirates and Azerbaijan

February 19, 2024
Chinese Consumers’ Attitudes Toward Certified Wood Products

A survey focused on consumers’ wood-product consumption patterns was conducted in three cities—Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai—from July to August 2015. This study used data from the survey to assess urban Chinese consumers’ attitudes toward certified wood products and the demographic differences affecting these attitudes. Regression analysis was conducted to test whether consumers’ social-economic characteristics link with their attitudes toward certified wood.

February 15, 2024
Florida conspirators sentenced to nearly five years in prison each for evading over $42 million in duties when illegally importing and selling plywood

A Florida husband and wife, Noel and Kelsy Hernandez Quintana were both sentenced yesterday to 57 months in prison for illegally importing and selling between $25 million and $65 million worth of plywood products in violation of the Lacey Act and customs laws. In addition to their prison sentences, the Quintanas were ordered to pay, jointly and severally, $42,417,318.50 in forfeitures. According to a US District Attorney, the defendants evaded ”  legally mandated customs duties on plywood manufactured in China using Russian timber. Moreover, … the defendants covered up their criminal scheme to violate federal environmental law, while also unjustly enriching themselves.”

February 1, 2024
China and Green Building Materials Push

RMB300 billion/yr from green building materials Ten departments led by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology have prepared a plan for the development of the green building materials industry. While the role of wood products is not specifically mentioned in the article, it does mention  China will continue green building materials product certification and further expand the scope of green building materials product certification.

January 28, 2024
As Russian Imports Surge, Uzbekistan Is Key to China’s Timber Silk Road Russia & Belarus exporters pile into Uzbekistan amid push to make the country a global hub for Central Asian trade.

Russia and Belarus are ramping up timber exports to Uzbekistan amid fears the former soviet state could act as a new trading post for conflict timber entering global timber supply chains.


It comes as Uzbekistan is spending billions on new rail, road and sea infrastructure, funded by China’s Belt and Road Initiative, forging new pathways for timber to infiltrate global supply chains.


Already, Uzbekistan is Russia’s second-largest importer of softwoods, with 480,000 cubic metres of timber (or 11% of its total imports) imported into the country every quarter – in what is a significant escalation in trade since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


It comes as Wood Central reported in July that a block of ten countries – including Uzbekistan as well as China, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, the United Arab Emirates, Azerbaijan, and Tajikistan – is fueling a booming trade of conflict timber bypassing western sanctions.

January 25, 2024
Colombia’s beef exports could boom, but sustainability is a concern

As farmers see opportunities after exports to China get green light, Colombia must confront problems of traceability, deforestation and illegal ranching.


Last year, Colombian president Gustavo Petro travelled to Beijing and sealed 12 agreements with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, including a trade protocol paving the way for exports of Colombian beef to China.

According to experts from the country’s livestock farmers’ union, the country’s beef exports to China alone could now reach more than 100,000 tonnes per year by 2025 – more than double the 45,000 tonnes it exported in total in 2022.

January 22, 2024
CP Foods subsidiary and LDC ink deal on satellite mapping for soy traceability

CP Foods subsidiary, Bangkok Produce Merchandising (BKP), and Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC) have formalized a collaboration aimed at leveraging satellite mapping solutions and traceability data points to create sustainable and deforestation-free supply chains, specifically focusing on soy products.

November 26, 2023
Sustainable meat: Bolivia works to reform livestock operations that trigger deforestation

In Bolivia, forest loss has spread in parallel with the increase in beef exports. Some ranchers are now turning to practices that protect forests and long-term productivity.


Following a process of diplomatic negotiations and preparation to help Bolivian producers meet Chinese import requirements, the first shipment of 48 tons of beef to China was finally made in August 2019. Since then, sales have broken records. From selling 1,174 tons of meat in 2012 for $6 million to other countries, Bolivia went on to sell 17,542 tons for a value of $82.5 million in the first six months of this year, 65% of it to China. Bolivia’s record sales have coincided with deforestation in recent years, mainly in Santa Cruz, the department where most of the meat destined for export comes from.

November 22, 2023
Russia & China Eyes Arctic Transhipment to Control Timber Supply

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, the country’s relationship with China took on even greater significance. More than 83% of Russia’s timber export goes through Chinese supply chains, with China now Russia’s distribution point to global forest markets. 


Chinese shipping companies like the Shandong Port Group play a crucial role in Russia realising its Arctic transport  aspirations. The company includes four major seaports in the Chinese Shandong region and are looking for more.


Komi Governor Vladimir Uiba – who has strong ties to the failed Wagner group – is pushing to attract Chinese investment in forest processing. Komi is Russia’s second-largest state and is home to the Virgin Komi Forests – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest virgin forest in Europe.

November 9, 2023
Chinese companies announce country’s first deforestation-free soybean import deal

China’s Cofco and Mengnui Group have announced the first Chinese deal to import deforestation-free soybeans from Brazil.

November 8, 2023
China's COFCO, Modern Farming Group sign 'deforestation free' soybean deal

China’s state-run food group COFCO International and Modern Farming Group, which makes milk products, have signed an agreement “to supply and accept soybeans” coming from sustainable areas of production in Brazil, the world’s top supplier of the oilseed. According to a statement from the World Economic Forum’s Tropical Forest Alliance on Wednesday, the deal is valued at more than $30 million and marks the first soybean order in China under a “clear deforestation- and conversion-free (DCF) clause.”

November 8, 2023
NGOs call for Forest Stewardship Council to cut ties with Canadian pulp and paper giant

Investigations by ICIJ partners and others have previously linked Paper Excellence to Asia Pulp & Paper, a Chinese-Indonesian forestry company accused of deforestation and human rights abuses.

November 6, 2023
Conservationists, CSOs, warn against Chinese incursion into Cross River forests

CONSERVATIONISTS, Civil Society Organisations, youth leaders and community elders, at the weekend, raised the alarm over the presence of Chinese in Effi community in the Cross River Reserved Forest area for undisclosed business.


Giving the warning on the platform of Coalition Against Illegal Logging and Mining in Cross River, CALAMA CRS, the stakeholders said after an intensive round table meeting in Calabar to x-ray the situation it became imperative to let the public know of what was going on.

November 1, 2023
Hidden in plain sight Counting the cost of environmental crime

Previous studies estimate the annual value of environmental crime at between US$110 billion and US$281 billion, making it one of the most lucrative criminal economies in the world, but few of the proceeds of this market benefit the development of communities in near the source markets but are instead transferred abroad and laundered into the global financial system.


Hidden in plain sight looks at illicit financial flows (IFFs) related to three specific illicit environmental flows: timber trafficking from Myanmar to China; gemstone trafficking from Mozambique to Thailand; and abalone trafficking from South Africa to Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR). It seeks to quantify the overall scale of IFF flows by analyzing informal flows, trade flows and financial systems – the three main channels by which IFFs are enabled, held and moved.

October 28, 2023
Australia’s trade with Myanmar military junta growing, despite sanctions, and through China and India

Mon Zin, a founding member of the Global Myanmar Spring Revolution, told the Green Left and Socialist Alliance forum that timber and wood imports increased between 2020–21.


October 25, 2023
Thailand’s Rubber Farming a Major Contributor to Deforestation

The deforestation caused by the rubber farming in Thailand and the world has been significantly underestimated, according to new findings from two scientific studies, with Southeast Asian rubber production potentially contributing up to three times more forest depletion than previously thought.

With over 4 million hectares of forest lost for rubber production since 1993, an area the size of Switzerland, “the effects of rubber on biodiversity and ecosystem services in Southeast Asia could be extensive,” according to a paper published on Wednesday in the journal Nature.


In Southeast Asia, mature rubber plantations covered 14.2 million hectares. Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam accounted for more than 70% of these plantations.

China, Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos were also important rubber-producing countries. Rubber plantations that were closed down before 2021 were excluded from the analysis, despite the fact that they may have contributed to deforestation.

October 13, 2023
Reforms rejuvenate forests and farmers' livelihoods

The nation’s forest reform has led to an increase in farmers’ incomes and improved the environment, said officials from the National Forestry and Grassland Administration.


Under the reform, farmers have become the “owners” of the forests, leading to a significant decrease in illegal logging and an increase in afforestation efforts, he said. With 171 million hectares of collective forest land, accounting for 60 percent of the country’s forest area, the reform involved about 100 million people in rural communities, he added.  Starting in 2008, the nationwide reform has seen forest stock volume rise by nearly 85 percent, or nearly 3.9 billion cubic meters, Tang said. The reform has also created new opportunities for rural economic development, with around 300,000 new forest operations, such as family-run forest farms and forestry cooperatives, having been set up.

September 30, 2023
Why the Dutch Have a €10B Problem With EU Deforestation Laws

The Netherlands is Europe’s largest importer of deforestation-linked products with a surge in wood and wood-based products from China and Brazil. The Dutch are the largest importer of soy, palm oil and cocoa and, most significantly, the region’s second-largest importer of wood products. Of the total imports that transition through the port, 28% are re-exported abroad, 33% are traded into European markets after processing, and 39% remain in the country for direct consumption or secondary processing.


As a result of its place in the global trade, the government of Netherlands has been urged by some producer countries to push back on the EUDR.

June 20, 2023
US to impose a tax on plywood from Vietnam containing Chinese core panels

According to the Trade Remedy Bureau of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Vietnam, the US Department of Commerce (DOC) continues to extend the time for the final conclusion of the anti-tax evasion and anti-dumping investigation on plywood using hardwood material imported from Vietnam. This underscores for Vietnam the need for traceability systems that can verify the country of origin for wood products.



The US Department of Commerce will issue its final conclusions on July 14, 2023. This is the eighth time the Commerce Department has delayed issuing its final conclusion.

June 15, 2023
The Pacific Is Becoming a Testing Ground for Green Geopolitics

The recent security agreements between Papua New Guinea and the United States are a good deal for the planet—but a tough pill for Beijing to swallow, and one that might come with potential blowback.


The new agreements accelerate coastal security strategies that also help with climate change adaptation by protecting vulnerable fisheries. These new moves point toward greater opportunities for further climate mitigation and resilience, using existing climate programs in Papua New Guinea and international climate financing. Papuan Prime Minister James Marape has often spoken of his enthusiasm for climate financing, which is also a high priority for the whole of the Blue Pacific Continent 2050 strategy that was endorsed and launched last July 2022 by a coalition of island nations. With the Biden administration set to host a major U.S.-Pacific island summit this fall, American interest in Pacific climate adaptation is growing.


But one aspect of these programs that American officials discuss only behind closed doors is their role in countering Chinese influence in the Pacific. Some of the programs are aimed at curbing environmental damage committed largely by Chinese companies through questionable fishing practices and widespread logging and mining. Pushing Chinese firms with dubious environmental practices out of Papua New Guinea and elsewhere also helps reduce the role of Chinese money, and influence, in Pacific politics—a double win for the United States.

June 8, 2023
Cameroon: How Logging Escapes State Control

For one year, The world And InfoCongo met with dozens of timber traffickers, residents and drivers of illegal logs in Cameroon. Their testimonies, as well as official documents from the Ministry of Forests and Wildlife (which did not wish to answer our questions), show that illegal logging is accelerating.

June 5, 2023
Chinese prosecutors zero in on environmental crime cases (new report)

Chinese prosecutors have investigated double the number of criminal cases involving environmental damage in the past five years compared to the 2013-17 period.


But crimes to do with damaging natural resources – including illegal logging, theft of timber and harming endangered plants – had the lowest non-prosecution rates.

June 2, 2023
Huge increase in transnational crime and synthetic drugs in SE Asia requires cross-border cooperation

Thailand, Laos and Myanmar are at the frontlines of illicit trade in Asia dominated by transnational organized crime syndicates.


The trafficking in illegal narcotics, precursor chemicals, timber and wildlife, people and illicit goods across Southeast Asia is being tackled thanks to the support of the specialized UN agency focusing on drugs and crime.

May 18, 2023
China’s Silent Greening

China is Brazil’s main trading partner and accounts for over a quarter of all Brazilian exports. Yet two of the largest products in this trading relationship—beef and soybeans—are also crops that drive deforestation in the Amazon.


The article summarizes some recent initiatives that China or other organizations have been taking to green China’s impact around the world.

May 11, 2023

the U.S. International Trade Commission determined that revoking current antidumping and countervailing duties on hardwood plywood from China would have negative consequences. Specifically, this could lead to material injury to U.S. industry. The existing duties, many of which exceed 200%, will remain in place.


Also featured in: Duties On China’s Hardwood Plywood Will Continue For 5 More Years | DHA (


April 14, 2023
China and Brazil to cooperate in stopping illegal trade fueling deforestation

China and Brazil announced this Friday a new collaborative effort to eliminate deforestation and control illegal trade causing forest loss.

In a joint statement, the countries said they “intend to engage collaboratively in support of eliminating global illegal logging and deforestation through effectively enforcing their respective laws on banning illegal imports and exports”.

Brazilian President Lula da Silva met with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during a visit to China, in a bid to strengthen ties. China is Brazil’s largest trading partner and a major importer of commodities such as soy and crude petroleum.

Both countries added they will cooperate with satellite information, “which will enable enhanced monitoring”. China and Brazil share the CBERS satellite program, which made its first launch back in 2001.

April 7, 2023
How A.I. and DNA Are Unlocking the Mysteries of Global Supply Chains

Firms are turning to advanced technologies to help answer a surprisingly tricky question: Where do products really come from?

March 31, 2023
ITTO reports on shifts in EU27 timber trade due to Russian and Belarussian sanctions

The EU first imposed trade sanctions on Belarus timber products on 2 March 2022. These were extended to Russian timber products on 8 April 2022. On 10 March 2022, Russia’s Industry and Trade Ministry announced a ban on all wood and timber-related exports to “unfriendly countries”, including the EU, UK and US. Both leading certification organisations, the PEFC and FSC, announced in March 2022 that all timber originating from Russia and Belarus would be categorised as ‘conflict timber’ (i.e. from a controversial source) and not eligible to be sold and promoted as PEFC- or FSC-certified. This had a significant impact on many European companies which had become heavily dependent on Russia and Belarus for their supplies of certified wood.


The EU first imposed trade sanctions on Belarus timber products on 2 March 2022. These were extended to Russian timber products on 8 April 2022. On 10 March 2022, Russia’s Industry and Trade Ministry announced a ban on all wood and timber-related exports to “unfriendly countries”, including the EU, UK and US. Both leading certification organisations, the PEFC and FSC, announced in March 2022 that all timber originating from Russia and Belarus would be categorised as ‘conflict timber’ (i.e. from a controversial source) and not eligible to be sold and promoted as PEFC- or FSC-certified. This had a significant impact on many European companies which had become heavily dependent on Russia and Belarus for their supplies of certified wood.


EU27 import value of wood and wood furniture from China increased only 4% to US$6.0 billion in 2022, although this did build on a massive 42% gain the previous year. Import value from Ukraine also increased by 9% to US$1.9 billion in 2022, despite the serious disruption due to the war, following a 55% gain the previous year. Other significant beneficiaries were Turkey, for which EU27 import value increased 32% to US$890 million last year, and non-tropical products from Brazil which recorded a 54% increase to US$ 690 million in 2022

March 31, 2023
Vietnam final anti-dumping ruling on tables, chairs and accessories from China

In February 2023 the Ministry of Industry and Trade in Vietnam issued Resolution No. 235/QD-BCT making a final and definitive anti-dumping ruling on tables, chairs and accessories from China imposing an anti-dumping duty of 21.4% on chairs and 35.2% on tables and accessories from China.The Vietnamese tax HS codes of the products involved are 9401.3000, 9401.4000, 9401.6100, 9401.6990, 9401.7100, 9401.7990, 9401.8000, 9401.9040, 9401.9092, 9401.9099, 9403.3000, 9403.6090 and 9403.9090. The measures will take effect from 13 February 2023.

March 27, 2023
Illegal logging surges in Myanmar’s conflict zones, with sanctions pushing smugglers to open new routes to India

Logging has accelerated amid the post-coup conflict, with sanctions pushing smugglers to open new routes to India, while activists and locals accuse both the military and resistance groups of profiting off the plunder.


Fighting has broken out across Myanmar since the military overthrew the elected National League for Democracy, with the worst violence reported in Sagaing Region, where anti-regime People’s Defence Forces have carved out rural strongholds. Based on interviews with residents, Frontier understands illegal logging has surged in Kani, Yinmabin, Kantbalu, Indaw and Banmauk townships in Sagaing, as well as in parts of Bago Region, where the junta has more control.


Local environmental activists, PDF members and ordinary residents told Frontier that most of the timber is being smuggled to China and, more recently, India.

March 22, 2023

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalistts and partners uncovered hidden links between Canada’s Paper Excellence and troubled Indonesian company Asia Pulp & Paper.


Lawmakers in Canada are calling for an investigation into one of North America’s largest pulp and paper manufacturers, following revelations in Deforestation Inc., a cross-border investigation led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

The parliamentarians said they are seeking answers into who is behind Paper Excellence, a company headquartered in British Columbia, after journalists revealed extensive links between the company and entities in Indonesia and China.

February 27, 2023
China’s Latin American Gold Rush Is All About Clean Energy: Beijing’s not after gold—but lithium.

Some 60 percent of the world’s lithium reserves can be found in the so-called lithium triangle, a region that encompasses Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia. It’s not just lithium either: Peru and Chile are the world’s two largest copper producers, while Brazil is home to 17 percent of all nickel reserves.


That has sparked a global scramble to tap the region’s wealth—one in which Chinese companies have an edge. Beyond lithium, Beijing has also struck deals for solar, wind, and hydroelectric projects across the region, pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into solar parks in Argentina and Brazil as well as signing contracts for hydroelectric projects in Bolivia and Argentina.


Part of the allure of partnering with Beijing, experts say, is the very nature of Chinese deals. China has boasted about its no-strings-attached financing, with fewer economic and political conditions than Western lenders. “[Governments] know that they’re not going to get the same level of quality by partnering with Chinese companies, but they also will get fewer headaches, fewer regulations, fewer lessons on the environment, fewer complaints from [nongovernmental organizations],” Berg said.

December 17, 2022
How China’s Appetite for Rosewood Fuels Illegal Logging in Ghana

MOLE NATIONAL PARK, Ghana—Mbaaba Kaper stood in the middle of the illegal timber trafficking warehouse where he’d worked as a watchman for nearly six years. Grasping the edge of a graying trunk that reached his shoulders, Kaper said with a smile, “This one is rosewood.”

He was accomplished at identifying rosewood—the world’s most threatened hardwood. Rosewood exports have been banned in Ghana since 2019, but the vast Chinese-run trafficking network in which Kaper worked in Yipala, northern Ghana, was shut down by Ghanaian police only nine months before we visited in June. The immense trees logged during its operation remained on the ground as far as the eye could see.

August 27, 2022
DOC not yet issued final decision for trade remedies on hardwood plywood

VIETNAM, August 27 – HÀ NỘI — The US Department of Commerce (DOC) has not yet issued the final determination on the imposition of anti-dumping and countervailing duties on certain hardwood plywood products and veneered panels exported from Việt Nam.

The Việt Nam Timber and Forest Products Association (VIFOREST) has confirmed that the DOC on April 15 extended the deadline to issue a final determination to October 17.

The DOC initiated the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation on hardwood plywood from Việt Nam on June 17, 2020, to enforce the trade remedies measures on Chinese hardwood plywood.

The US is currently applying anti-dumping of 183.36 per cent and anti-subsidy duties from 22.98 per cent to 194.9 per cent on hardwood plywood products from China.

On July 25, DOC announced its preliminary determination that hardwood plywood exported from Việt Nam, which was assembled in Việt Nam using hardwood plywood imports sourced from China, were products of China and were subject to the anti-dumping duty and countervailing duty orders on hardwood plywood from China.

August 3, 2022
Timber Trade Federation warns of birch plywood import from Far East

Timber Trade Federation (TTF) issued import warning for TTF-members on birch plywood from the Far East.

“It has been nearly six months since Russia’s awful invasion of Ukraine, with few signs the conflict is going to abate anytime soon.

Though grain exports began to leave Ukraine this week for the first time since the war began, international sanctions on Russia remain very much in place.

Along with maritime sanctions and restrictions on Russian payments, the most significant sanction for our industry is the Russian timber import ban.

August 1, 2022
China’s new green finance guidelines have a deforestation blind spot

On 1 June, the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) issued a new set of green guidelines. These lay out detailed expectations for banks and insurance companies to identify, monitor, prevent and control their environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks.

The new Green Finance Guidelines are a positive step forward, especially in their potential to divert finance away from not-so-green businesses. But can they help shift the billions that Chinese banks and other investors put into companies linked to the destruction of climate-critical forests?

June 11, 2022
China's forays into Africa's forests & illegal trade could lead to environmental disaster

China’s forays into Africa’s huge forest resources and indulgence in illegal trade disregarding the environment could lead to a disaster of monumental proportions.

A recent investigative report by international NGO Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has claimed that China’s illegal imports of rosewood has led to massive devastation of Malian forests besides serving as a conduit for ivory smuggling. Western African state of Mali has become one of China’s leading rosewood suppliers .

May 19, 2022
China’s Illegal Rosewood Trade with Mali Under Scrutiny

Between May 2020 and March 2022, China imported from Mali 220,000 trees’ worth —148,000 tons — of a type of rosewood known as kosso despite a ban on its harvest and trade in the troubled West Africa nation, a report released Wednesday by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) found.


March 8, 2022
Something fishy: Wildlife trafficking from Mexico to China

Wildlife trafficking from Mexico to China receives little attention, but it is growing and threatens biodiversity. Moreover, while the connections between wildlife trafficking and drug cartels are sometimes exaggerated, in Mexico, wildlife trafficking, drug trafficking, and money laundering have become intertwined. Attracted by China’s enormous appetite for wildlife products and in contact with Chinese traders supplying precursor chemicals for the production of illegal fentanyl and methamphetamine, Mexican drug cartels are increasingly muscling their way into the country’s legal and illegal wildlife trade.

China: Tree-Planting at Home, Logging Abroad?

Over a six-month period last year, Congo King Baisheng Forestry Development exported $5 million – or about 30 million kilograms — in illegally logged hardwood to timber conglomerate Wan Peng through Zhangjigang Port.


When sent the evidence collected by Global Witness, Chinese Customs told the NGO that “as the logging has taken place in DRC and violated local laws, the DRC authority was responsible for enforcement.” The Chinese government could investigate evidence of Chinese companies or citizens being involved in illegal logging – if requested by the DRC government.

Publications Click for publications related to China
This paper presents trends in China’s forest product imports and exports during 1998–2019, by analyzing trade data from China’s General Customs Administration (GCA). It was found that over the past two decades both imports and exports of forest products have experienced huge growth, making China an important player in the global forest products market. China’s […]
La demanda mundial de madera balsa se ha disparado en los últimos años, impulsada por el aumento de la demanda de energía eólica renovable a medida que el mundo intenta abandonar los combustibles fósiles. La madera balsa, blanda y ligera, es uno de los materiales preferidos para las aspas de las turbinas de viento. Los […]
Global demand for balsa wood has skyrocketed over the last several years, driven by rising demand for renewable wind energy as the world attempts to transition away from fossil fuels. Soft and lightweight, balsa wood is one of the preferred core materials for wind turbine blades. The volumes of balsa now traded on international markets […]
This paper assesses China’s forest product imports from FLEGT VPA countries and exports to the European Union (EU) plus European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) Member States between 2010-2019, set within the context of overall trade and market dynamics driving China’s supply and demand for forest products. We demonstrate that following China’s closure of its own[…]
The term “rosewood” is used to designate several hundred species of tropical timber, found across West and Central Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. 29 species are officially designated as hongmu (红木) under China’s National Hongmu Standard (2017). The Standard can be legally enforced in relation to product marketing claims, and has played a key[…]
This paper assesses China’s forest product imports from FLEGT VPA countries and exports to the EU between 2007-2017, set within the context of China’s overall trade and market dynamics driving supply and demand for forest products. The report shows how China’s closure of its own forests from harvesting has triggered a rise in imported forest products,[…]
China has imported more than 46 million cubic meters of logs from countries with log export bans from 2005 to 2016. Many of these imports are in violation of log export bans (LEBs) and present a risk to Chinese companies – and their down-stream buyers of processed wood products in North America and Europe – that these logs are illegally sourced. […]
This Information Brief explores some of the anticipated economic and ecological implications of the forthcoming expansion of restrictions on commercial logging in China’s natural forests.
Ce document examine les évolutions récentes du commerce chinois de bois de rose en s’appuyant sur les données d’importation des douanes chinoises entre 2000 et 2014. Il résume les publications existantes qui font état de violations généralisées de la législation et de la réglementation nationales en matière de récolte et de commerce de bois de […]
China’s demand for rosewood – used for classical Chinesestyle furniture and décor – is threatening some of the world’s most valuable and endangered old-growth forests. Chinese furniture manufacturers’ imports of several species of rosewood, collectively known as hongmu, have soared at an unprecedented rate since 2010 and hit an all-time high in 2014, according to […]
Key Resources
Click here for a collection of Forest Trends publications related to IDAT Risk, including the full set of Timber Legality Risk Country Dashboards.
Click here to download the Methodology which includes information on data sources, the methodology used to create risk indicators, and a glossary of key terms.
Data Tools

Click here to access the Global Illegal Logging and Associated Trade (ILAT) Risk assessment tool and to download the Forest Trends User Guide describing the functionality of the ILAT Risk Data Tool.

Click here to access the Cattle Data Tool.

Export Restrictions
Click here to download a database of forest policy export restrictions.