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Analysis of China’s trade with the EU and VPA countries 2007-2017

Analysis of China’s trade with the EU and VPA countries 2007-2017

The EU FLEGT Facility has issued a briefing note summarising an analysis of China’s trade with the European Union (EU) and Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) countries on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade from 2007 to 2017. The analysis is reviewed in a report on ‘China’s Trade of Wood Products with EU, EU Member States, and VPA Countries’, compiled as an output of the 2018 meeting of the EU – China Bilateral Coordination Mechanism (BCM) on Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG). The source of the data is China Customs.


Key findings are:

  • China has increasingly closed its own forests from harvesting, triggering a rise in imported forest products. 
  • China’s forest product imports are at an all-time high, but exports continue to decline, indicating higher domestic consumption. 
  • China’s imports are dominated by logs and sawnwood but are shifting to more semi-processed wood products. 
  • Between 2007 and 2017, China’s direct imports from countries implementing or negotiating a VPA with the EU increased by 113% by volume, and 136% by value, representing 15% of all of China’s forest product imports. 
  • China is the second largest importer of timber from VPA countries. 
  • More than half of China’s timber product exports were bound for regulated markets. 
  • Exports to the EU were at an all-time high in 2017 by value but have stayed flat by volume. 
  • There is continued difficulty in tracking wood products from import to export points. 
  • China’s forest product imports from some tropical forested countries are at high risk of being harvested or processed in contravention of the law. 
  • Economic slowdown in China and the US-China trade war are poised to impact China’s wood product trade going forward.


Read the briefing: