China and forest trade in the Asia-Pacific region: implications for forests and livelihoods - an overview of the market chain for China's timber products imports from Myanmar uri icon


  • Chinaâ??s annual timber product 1 imports from Myanmar more than tr ipled between 1997 and 2002 (Sun et al. 2004). Although imports from Myanmar comprise just over two percent of Chinaâ??s total timber product imports, the nascent increase in logging activities along the Chinese border in Myanmar has been highly concentrated in natural forests in Myanmarâ??s northern Kachin State, and the ecological impacts of these activities are not captured in timber product import volumes. Growth in timber product imports coincided with Chinaâ??s restrictions on domest ic production in 1998, tariff reductio ns on forest products in 1999 and gradual relaxations on migration controls, the combination of which has considerably altered the structure of the timber industry and the face of communities along the border with Myanmar in Chinaâ??s Yunnan Province. As timber resources in northern Myanmar that can be co st-effectively harvested are rapidly depleted, there is a pressing need to develop strategies to deal with the cross-border environmental effects of prolonged, intensive logging and the livelihood implications of a diminished flow of Myanmar timber products across different segments of the market chain. The analysis below is an extension of and builds upon an earlier study c onducted by the authors in late 2003 (Kahrl et al. 2004). Research consisted primarily of literature reviews and semi-structured interviews. Interviews were carried out in the border towns of Pianma (Lushui County), Diantan (Tengchong County), Houqiao (Tengchong County), Yingjiang (Yingjiang County), Ruili (Ruili Municipality) and Nongdao (Ruili Municipality) and in wholesale markets in Kunming, Shanghai, and Guangdong. 2 This study is fundamentally scoping in nature â?? facts and figures ar e meant to paint a picture of industry conditions across a broad range of actors and scales, rather than establis h conclusive evidence concerning industry effects . Based on a more comprehensive understanding of conditions, the analysis mo ves on to identify priority issues along the market chain. The main route for Myanmar timber product imports into China stretches from the Yunnan-Myanmar border to Guangdong Province and Shanghai on Chinaâ??s eastern seaboard. According to national customs statistics, from 1997-2002, almost 90 percent of Chinaâ??s imports of Myanmar timber passed overland through Chinaâ??s Yunnan Province. 75 percent of this border timber trade was concentrated in Lushui County (Nujiang Prefecture), Tengchong County (Baoshan Municipality) and Yingjiang County (Dehong Prefecture). While the border has been home to a thriving timber industry since the mid- to late 1980s, the intensity of logging in northern Myanmar and the number of companies and workers increased significantly after more stringent limits on domestic production were administered in 1998

publication date

  • 2005