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Research Report on Timber Import in China, 2019-2023

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China is the second largest timber consumer in the world. With the development of China’s economy, there is a growing demand for timber from industries of construction, papermaking and furniture manufacturing. However, the timber production grows slowly in China as restricted by timber resources and the rising costs of logging. In Jan. 1, 2017, the Chinese government announced the prohibition on commercial cutting of natural forests. It is estimated that the timber production in China will shrink in the next few years.

From 2013 to 2017, the apparent consumption of timber in China increased by nearly 18% to 192.5 million cubic meters. However, the decrease in the production volume pushed up the import volume. As a result, China’s reliance on timber imports rose from 48.4% in 2013 to 56.4% in 2017, and is expected to keep growing in the next few years. In 2017, the import volume of timber in China reached about 108.5 million cubic meters, registering a YOY growth of 16.1%. Softwoods and hardwoods account for about 68% and 32% respectively of China’s timber imports. And as labor costs in China are rising, sawn timber is taking up a larger proportion of China’s timber imports. The ratio of sawn timber imports to log imports increased from 1:4 in 2007 to 2:3 in 2017.

In 2017, Russia, the U.S., New Zealand and Canada, the four largest sources of China’s timber imports, provided 64% of the total import volume of timber in China. In particular, Russia and the U.S. provided about 31% and nearly 10% respectively of the total timber imports. On Aug. 3, 2018, China’s Ministry of Commerce announced a 5% to 25% tariff increase on U.S. exports worth USD 60 billion, including a 25% tariff increase on U.S. timber. Evidently, the Sino-U.S. trade war will have certain impact on China’s timber import.

The domestic supply of merchantable timber has been contracting, and China’s reliance on timber imports has exceeded 50% since the Chinese government announced the prohibition on commercial cutting of natural forests in 2017.It is expected that the international timber prices will show an upward trend in the next few years as the import volume of timber keeps rising in China. Some Chinese enterprises have begun to invest in the forestry industry in other countries, mainly Russia, to ensure stable and adequate supply of timber. By the end of 2018, more than 100 Chinese enterprises had invested in Russia's forestry industry with a total of over USD 2 billion. And the figures are expected to grow further. The Chinese government has few restrictions on timber import. Therefore, the Chinese market will provide global forestry enterprises with numerous opportunities in the next few years.

Topics Covered:

  • Supply of and demand for timber in China
  • Timber import in China
  • China's reliance on timber imports
  • Major factors influencing timber import in China
  • Analysis on the types, volume, sources and prices of China's timber imports
  • Prospect of timber import in China from 2019 to 2023
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Research Report on Timber Import in China, 2019-2023

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