China’s rapid economic growth has spurred a massive demand for natural resources – including timber, agricultural commodities and minerals – the vast bulk of which are imported. Although it is estimated that the proportion of China’s imports of illegally sourced timber has fallen, the total volume of illegally sourced timber nearly doubled from 17 million in 2005 to 33 million m3 in 2013. A substantial part of these imports is exported to Europe.
In discussions on protecting forests, respecting rights and controlling illegal timber, China matters. In the Mekong region and West and Central Africa, our partners tell us that China matters too.
Fern therefore commissioned this study to inform us about China’s efforts to tackle the trade in illegal and unsustainable produced timber and to provide us with some guidance for a possible strategy to inform EU-China efforts to control the trade in illegally sourced timber.
The information is relevant to colleagues in the global NGO community, as well as those in the European Commission, Member States’ governments, the timber trade and the academic community. We welcome comments, corrections, suggestions and discussion on how to better engage China to ensure its economic growth will have fewer negative and social impacts.