Forest products trade between China and Belt & Road countries

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ITTO/Fordaq
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According to China Customs, the value of forest products trade between China and the Belt and Road countries has been on the rise since 2017 and grew 52% from US$51 billion in 2017 to US$78 billion in 2022. Imports dominate the forest products trade between China and the Belt & Road countries which have been running a deficit since its launch.

Forest products include wood and non-wood products. Trade in wood products dominates trade between China and the Belt & Road countries accounting for nearly 60% of the total. Trade in non-wood products trade makes up the balance.

China imported almost 97% of its wood products from the Belt & Road countries including timber and wood products (HS code 44, 50%), wood pulp (HS code 47, 33%) and paper, paperboard products (HS code 48, 15%).

Log imports

According to China Customs, China’s log imports from the Belt & Road countries were 5.42 million cubic metres valued at US$966 million in 2022, down 48% in volume and 42% in value year on year. China’s log imports from the Belt & Road countries have shown a declining trend and fell 62% between from 2013 to 2022.

The log trade with Russia is the largest of the Belt & Road countries and accounted for 41% in 2022 down from the 61% in 2021. However, China’s log imports from Russia plummeted to 2.21 million cubic metres in 2022 due to the increase in log export tariffs by Russia.

The species of imported logs in 2022 were spruce and fir (40%) and birch (34%). In addition, a small amount of poplar, scots and Korean pine, oak and beech were imported in 2022.

Sawnwood imports

According to China Customs, sawnwood imports from the Belt & Road countries were 19.51 million cubic metres valued at US$4.76 billion in 2022, down 8% in volume and 5% in value year on year.

China’s sawnwood imports from the Belt & Road countries have been increasing and rose 77% from 11 million cubic metres in 2013 to 19.51 million in 2022 and in 2022 accounted for 73% of the national total. Russia was the largest Belt & Road countries in terms of sawnwood imports and accounted for 67% in 2022.

But China’s sawnwood imports from Russia fell 7% to 13.09 million cubic metres in 2022. In contrast, China’s sawnwood imports from Thailand, the Philippines, Belarus and Croatia rose 2%, 1%, 34% and 9% respectively in 2022.

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