China aims to increase its total area of forest by 40 million hectares in the next decade, as compared with that in 2005, President Hu Jintao said at the APEC Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Forestry held Tuesday morning in Beijing. Is it a good news? Forest protection, without measures to convert the timber industry, resulted in increasing import from other countries: Indonesia, Gabon, Mozambico, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Island, Surinam and Guyana are now facing a massive deforestation fueled by Chinese importers.

China's log imports rose to 34.35 million cubic metres in 2010 doubling from the 17 million cubic metres imported in 2001. This rate of growth of timber imports is expected to continue to over 180 million cubic metres (roundwood equivalent) by 2015.

The crossroad of this trade is the Chinese port of Zhangjiagang, near Shanghai. This port port became s the number one for tropical log imports. Since 1982 Chinese imports through the port have grown. In the first 7 months of this years log imports through the port totaled 1.6 million cubic metres valued at US$360 mil. The imported logs came from 36 countries. Tropical log imports through the port rose 44 percent this year.

In 2005 EIA/Telapak undercover investigations revealed a network of middlemen and brokers responsible for arranging shipment of the illegal logs from Indonesia to China. The majority of merbau logs stolen from Papua are destined for the port of Zhangjiagang, where they are cleared through customs using false Malaysian paperwork to disguise their true origin.


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