EU-China cooperation

The EU and China work together to combat illegal logging and associated trade globally through the Bilateral Coordination Mechanism (BCM) on Forest Law Enforcement and Governance.

Current activities include

China-Indonesia-EU trilateral dialogue

Discussing and providing inputs to guidelines and Chinese Legality Verification initiatives

Conducting research on the flows in the timber trade between China and Myanmar

Analysing the circulation and processing in China of timber harvested in the Russian Far East

Conducting a review of investment and the timber trade between China and the six VPA signatory countries

EU–China cooperation to stop illegal logging

What is the Bilateral Coordination Mechanism (BCM)?

The EU and China established a Bilateral Coordination Mechanism (BCM) on Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) in 2009, following an EU-China Forest Law Enforcement and Governance conference in Beijing in 2007. Through the BCM, the EU and China work together to stop illegal logging and the associated trade in illegal timber globally. The BCM is a forum for policy dialogue, and a mechanism for sharing information on policies and legal frameworks, and for coordinating initiatives stop illegal logging and associated trade. 

Representatives of the EU and China sign the Bilateral Coordination Mechanism Agreement in Brussels on 30 January 2009

Representatives of the EU and China sign the Bilateral Coordination Mechanism Agreement in Brussels, 30 January 2009

How does the BCM work?

Under the BCM, China and the EU meet each year to share information on policy and discuss activities. China is represented by the State Forestry Administration (SFA) and the EU is represented by the Directorate-General Environment of the European Commission (EC). At the meetings, the two parties discuss areas of mutual interest and agree on annual work plans that contribute to the policy objectives of the BCM. All work plans are available here. The Chinese Academy of Forestry and the EU FLEGT Facility jointly manage activities set out in the work plans. They regularly report progress to China and the EU, and conduct mid-term evaluations of work plans.

The BCM frames an integrated set of activities which are carried out through the annual work plans. The EU Member States closely coordinate their work on FLEGT with the European Commission to ensure it supports BCM objectives. One important example of this work is the International Foreign Investment and Trade (InFIT) project of the UK Department for International Development (DFID) Forest, Governance, Markets and Climate (FGMC) programme.

What work is taking place under the BCM?

Under the BCM, China and the EU are exploring opportunities to develop a shared approach to recognising the legality verification schemes for timber and timber products of timber-exporting countries, including those that are participating in bilateral trade agreements called FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs).

The two parties are exchanging information and coordinating training on codes of conduct for European and Chinese businesses operating in timber-producing countries, and on private and public procurement policies. They are facilitating business contacts among EU and Chinese private sector operators, as well as operators in timber-producing countries. The goal of this work is to improve information about the supply chains of timber products.

The two parties are also identifying policy and research priorities, and conducting studies. For a list of current and past activities under the BCM, click here.


Timber legality training workshop in Dongguan in April 2011. The EU and China work together to strengthen the capacity of the private sector in meeting timber legality requirements

 

Current activities under the BCM .

Under the BCM, the EU and China are:

 

  • Supporting the further development of the CTLVS, taking into consideration EU experiences with the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) and in countries negotiating or that have signed VPAs
  • Working on a China-Indonesia-EU trilateral dialogue on stopping the trade in illegal timber and timber products. The EU and China are examining the trade in forest products between Indonesia and China. They are also developing specific options to integrate FLEGT-licensed timber in the development of the Chinese Timber Legality Verification System (CTLVS). China and Indonesia are continuing discussions at government level to further foster understanding of each party’s efforts and to discuss further collaboration
  • Improving information exchange and policy dialogue on the trade in timber and timber products between China and neighbouring countries. The two parties have conducted research on the timber trade between China and Myanmar, taking into consideration EU initiatives on FLEGT. The primary outcomes of the study are available in Burmese, Chinese and English. Stakeholders on both sides of the China-Myanmar border discussed the initial findings of the study at meetings in Kunming, Yunnan, China, 22-23 April 2015 and in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, 24-25 September 2015
  • Analysing the circulation and processing in China of timber harvested in the Russian Far East to the point of export to the EU. A study and policy recommendations on the flow of Russian hardwood are being finalised 
  • Conducting a review of investment and the timber trade between China and the six countries that have signed VPAs. The report is being finalised 
  • Collaborating with the European Investment Bank, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank in the context of China’s One Belt, One Road strategy. The two parties are exploring how Chinese banks can provide incentives that support reforestation initiatives and adoption of responsible purchasing policies for forestry products
  • Bringing together stakeholders in countries that have signed VPAs, Chinese policy makers and stakeholders in Chinese industry to understand and appreciate the work countries are doing 
  • Setting up a Common Information Window where private sector operators in China and the EU can access information on market requirements
  • Discussing and providing inputs to the Guide on Sustainable Overseas Forests Management and Utilisation by Chinese Enterprises and the Guideline on Sustainable Overseas Forest Trade. This includes providing inputs for the development of monitoring and evaluation components
  • Analysing the feasibility of developing policies to promote legally sourced timber and timber products in China

Previous activities under the BCM

Under the BCM, the EU and China have:

  • Organised meetings with Russian and Chinese stakeholders to discuss the cross-border timber trade between the two countries
  • Conducted a campaign to raise awareness in the Chinese private sector of the requirements of the EU timber market
  • Supported capacity building for key stakeholders in China on forest governance, and regional and international FLEGT activities
  • Supported meetings of private sector representatives in the EU, China and timber-producing countries to meet and share information 
  • Conducted a joint study on the impact of the EU Timber Regulation on small and medium-sized enterprises in China
  • Conducted a baseline study to develop an overview of forest governance, markets and trade in China [English] [Chinese


Factory manufacturing tongue and groove flooring boards near the China-Russia border. Under the BCM the EU and China have discussed China's cross-border timber trade, including the trade between China and the Russian Far East.