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China: Wood

Volume 459: debated on Tuesday 1 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has made to the Government of China on ensuring the sustainability of timber imported to China from (a) South East Asia and (b) Africa; and if he will make a statement. (134597)

I have been asked to reply.

DFID is working on the issue of sustainable timber imports to China from South East Asia and from Africa through a number of channels.

Policy analysis is funded through support to a programme, "China and the Asia-Pacific: forest markets for sustainable livelihoods and forests" managed by the non-governmental organisation (NGO) Forest Trends. Forest Trends, and the data it produces on Chinese timber production and on the timber imports and exports, is well respected by the Chinese Government. They are about to expand this work to cover a selected number of African countries.

DFID contributes to an ongoing project jointly run by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and the Canadian International Institute of Sustainable Development, whose aim is to integrate sustainable development concerns into Chinese trade/economic policies in three commodities, of which one is the international timber trade.

Finally, forestry is a priority issue within the UK-China Sustainable Development Dialogue, a formal mechanism for ministerial dialogue and projects on key sustainable development issues. DFID is a member of the newly-established UK-China Forestry Working Group, and is lead and co-funder of a project managed by Chatham House to hold a series of participatory stakeholder meetings on international forestry, bringing together Chinese Government, industry representatives and non-governmental organisations.