It’s the world’s biggest importer of logs, legal and illegal alike. A behemoth that drives an engine of timber harvesting across the world, from the rainforests of Malaysia to the jungles of Cameroon. But now, China may be poised to enter the club of countries who play another role in the timber trade: enforcer of the rules.
On December 28th, 2019, China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee revised the country’s Forest Law, for the first time including language that bars Chinese companies and investors from trafficking in illegal timber. Environmental advocates say the change is significant, and are hopeful it’s a signal that China is prepared to crack down on the illegal logging trade.