Publication Thumbnail

China’s International Wood Trade: A Review, 2011-2020

By Michael Richards, Naomi Basik Treanor, Xiufang Sun, and Sofia Tenorio Fenton
View Publication

Over the past ten years, China has announced high level commitments to address climate change, including making pledges to exclude timber and agricultural products linked to illegal deforestation. At the same time, Chinese industries have made similar voluntary commitments.

This report reviews China’s international trade in forest products over the last decade (2011 to 2020), and assesses any risk that these products could be linked to illegal deforestation. Our analysis shows that over half (51%) of China’s timber product imports in the 2010s were sourced from countries with weak governance and documented evidence of widespread illegal deforestation. This substantial proportion of wood imported by the Chinese timber industry carries high risk of having been harvested and traded in violation of source country laws and regulations. Despite the high profile commitments by China’s government and industry, there has been no discernible change: China still imports the same volume of high-risk timber as it did a decade ago.

The report also includes a section on trade between China and the US, focusing on implications for US importers conducting Due Care on Chinese timber product imports, as required under the US Lacey Act.