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An Overview of the Market Chain for China’s Timber Product Imports from Myanmar

By Fredrich Kahrl, Horst Weyerhaeuser, and Su Yufang - World Agroforestry Centre, World Agroforestry Centre, World Agroforestry Centre, Forest Trends, DFID, CIFOR
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China’s annual timber product imports from Myanmar more than tripled between 1997 and 2002. Although imports from Myanmar comprise just over two percent of China’s total timber product imports, the nascent increase in logging activities along the Chinese border in Myanmar has been highly concentrated in natural forests in Myanmar’s northern Kachin State, and the ecological impacts of these activities are not captured in timber product import volumes. Growth in timber product imports coincided with China’s restrictions on domestic production in 1998, tariff reductions on forest products in 1999 and gradual relaxations on migration controls, the combination of which has considerably altered the structure of the timber industry and the face of communities along the border with Myanmar in China’s Yunnan Province. As timber resources in northern Myanmar that can be cost-effectively harvested are rapidly depleted, there is a pressing need to develop strategies to deal with the cross-border environmental effects of prolonged, intensive logging and the livelihood implications of a diminished flow of Myanmar timber products across different segments of the market chain.