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WhatWood Blog Forestry & Logging EIA accused Japanese companies of importing products made of illegal Russian timber

EIA accused Japanese companies of importing products made of illegal Russian timber

20 June 2014 ` 11:14  

Significant quantities of illegal timber products from the forests of Siberia and the Russian Far East are flowing into Japan, according to a new report by the US-based non-profit Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).

The report, “The Open Door: Japan’s Continuing Failure to Prevent Imports of Illegal Russian Timber”, details supply chains for illegally cut Siberian pine, bought by Chinese traders and imported to China, manufactured into wood products and sold on markets all over Japan.

In undercover interviews, officials from San Xia, one of the largest Chinese importers of Russian timber, detailed how they purchase this timber from illegal loggers deep inside Siberia and launder this timber across the border using documentation from their forest concession. In factories across North-Eastern China, San Xia transforms this timber into edge-glued lumber, 90% of which is sold to Japan for housing construction.

Illegal logging is estimated to comprise at least 50% of total timber harvests in eastern Russia, with some estimates nearing 90%, and poses one of the gravest threats to both the region’s forest ecology and the future of the Russian forest products industry, says the report. This trade fuels corruption and environmental destruction, including some of the most biodiverse and pristine forests in the Russian Federation, according to EIA.

Also, these products directly compete with Japanese domestic timber, depressing prices globally and putting Japanese forest producers at a competitive disadvantage.

EIA urges Japan to take decisive and immediate action to close its market to the cheap, illegal timber that is undercutting both its domestic forestry operations as well as the forests and livelihoods of its trading partners.

The full EIA report is available for download.

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