Subscribe Archives Calendar ContactLogging & Sawmilling JournalMadison's Lumber DirectoryAdvertise Media KitHomeForestnet

 

TimberWest November/December 2013

January/February 2016

ON THE COVER
Photo taken at the 2015 Oregon Logging
Conference

Download the OLC Showguide

Running Big, Running Strong
Jerry DeBriae, owner and founder of Jerry DeBriae Logging Inc. of Cathlamet, Washington, has over five decades of experience tackling just about every challenge a logging contractor will face.

A Road Well Travelled
R D Reeves Construction finds the solutions to stay diversified and local.

Woody Biomass
Stripping fact from fiction

All Hands on Deck
Miller Timber Services and Wildland Firefighting Crews

Tire Evaluation Test

China Amping up Imports
China aims to increase the volume of timber imports from the U.S. despite stagnant economy.

Foresters Face Paradigm Shift 
for Logging Steep Slopes

Technology from New Zealand is set to create a whole new — and safer — way of logging

Gradual Growth for North American Sawmill
Vancouver Urban Timberworks started out modestly and grew into their new Wood-Mizer WM1000

DEPARTMENTS

In the News

Association News

Machinery Row

New Products

Guest Column

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 CLICK to download a pdf of this article

China imports

China Amping up Imports

China aims to increase the volume of timber imports from the U.S. despite stagnant economy.

By Eugene Gerden

Despite the currenteconomic stagnation, China plans to significantly increase the volume of timber imports from the U.S. during the next several years, according to recent statements by a spokesman of the Chinese Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources.

Changes in China

This will be due primarily to several factors: modification of the Chinese export/import policy with regard to timber; a significant decline of further imports from tropical countries; and the recently announced plans of the Chinese government to have more than 30 percent of the buildings in the country environmentally-friendly by 2020.

At present, China consumes more than 169 billion board feet of timber annually, and it is predicted that these figures will remain at least the same level, despite the country’s economic downturn.

In recent years, China has been considered the largest global consumer of tropical timber, importing around 42 billion board feet of timber annually, mostly from the Amazon and Congo basins and other emerging regions of Southeast Asia. However, due to fierce criticism from numerous environmental organizations and ecologists against the deforestation of these regions, the Chinese government has decided to changes its suppliers, in favor of further imports from the U.S., Canada, and Russia.

U.S. Ramifications

According to the U.S. Forest Service, China currently remains the world’s largest export market for U.S. hardwood (with a 43 percent share in 2014) and, according to its forecasts, this figure will continue to grow in the overall structure of U.S. hardwood exports between 2016-2017.

In 2014, imports of U.S. hardwoods to China increased by 34 percent up to $1.53 billion, and there is a possibility that the growth will continue during the next several years.

Chinese Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources experts also predict that imports of U.S. hardwood to China will continue to grow due to the ever-increasing demand for raw materials from the Chinese paper and other related industries. According to Chinese Ministry of Forestry data, the production of paper products in China during the period of 2002 to 2014 has increased by almost 180 percent, and there is a possibility that despite general stagnation of the Chinese economy, the growth will continue.

In addition, China is deficient in forest resources given its large land area and population exceeding 1.3 billion. (Per capita forest coverage in China is estimated at only 0.12 hectares, about one fifth of the global average, one fourth of the U.S. level.)

China’s total forest product imports significantly increased between 1997 and 2005, more than tripled in volume from 17 billion to 56.7 billion board feet, and more than doubled in value. The increase in imports can be explained by the fact that domestic supply of industrial wood has failed to keep up with China’s growing demand; therefore, a large part has to be imported to meet the demand.

Even though China will increase its logging quota from a previous 94 billion board feet to 105 billion board feet—the number has increased every year for the past 15 years—the huge gap between supply and demand of timber products still exists.

In the meantime, according to U.S. Forest Service analysts, there is a possibility that a portion of U.S. hardwood supplies are illegal, taking into account the status of China as the world’s top importer of illegal timber, with the trade worth about $4 billion a year.