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 imports are dominated by raw materials such as logs and lumber, while exports are dominated by processed wood products like plywood and furniture. Sources of imports are diverse among different products. While softwood logs and lumber have been largely from the global north, where forests have mostly been sustainably managed, tropical hardwood have been dominated by unsustainable sources. Changes in the structure of trading products, import sources and export markets, which have been impacted by policies both at home and from the trade partners, have great implications for sustainable forest management and global actions in halting and reversing deforestation.
This paper was originally published in the International Forestry Review, Vol.25(4), 2023.