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Briefing: Timber trade flows and investments between China and VPA countries

Briefing: Timber trade flows and investments between China and VPA countries

The EU FLEGT Facility has published a briefing based on research into flows of timber and investments between the China and the six countries that have signed Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) with the EU.

The research found that while China is a major market for the six VPA countries — Cameroon; Central African Republic; Ghana; Indonesia; Liberia; and the Republic of the Congo — it receives just a fraction of its total imports from them. It also found significant discrepancies between VPA exporters’ reports and China’s import records, indicating that there is undocumented and some potentially illegal trade.

The report identifies challenges to legality on both the demand and supply sides of this trade, but notes that once VPA countries have fully operational timber legality assurance systems in place, legality of exports can be assured. It therefore urges China to provide technical assistance and other resources to help VPA countries develop timber legality assurance systems and improve forest management and law enforcement.

It also recommends that Chinese timber importers and their suppliers develop due diligence systems to ensure that imports are legal. And it urges Chinese investors in forestry in VPA countries to plan their investments with VPA country stakeholders, in order to avoid adverse effects on workers, local communities or the environment.