China goes green again!
Franceculture-In the world’s forests (2/4). The timber trade: Beijing set to take forests by storm
Beijing plays a pivotal role in the booming timber trade. After sacrificing its forests to construction projects during the Mao era, China is now reforesting to make its air breathable again. How can it strike the balance between environmental requirements and massive imports?
The timber trade, whether for industrial use or for fuel production, has almost doubled in the last fifteen years.
Though transactions are vibrant and multilateral, one actor has come to play a crucial role in the sector: Beijing. From the United States through Europe to Africa, from North America’s red oaks to precious tropical species, China buys timber from all over the world.
Viewed by some as a major opportunity and as unfair resource grabbing by others, the great Chinese offensive fueled by a surge in domestic demand has become the key to understanding the stakes of the timber market.
While Beijing may have drawn criticism for fueling global deforestation with regulations that are far laxer than Europe’s, it is rather an ongoing reforestation policy that is trending within the Asian giant’s borders. As a matter of fact, after sacrificing its forests to construction projects during the Mao era, China is now reforesting its territory to make its air breathable again. The new forests are covered by a ban on the extraction of any species whatsoever, compelling Chinese industrial loggers to look abroad for supplies.
Which countries are benefitting from this situation and which ones are losing out? Has the US-led trade war altered the playing field?