JAKARTA, March 24 (AFP): Consumers in the United States, Japan and Europe are fuelling Chinese imports of illegal timber harvested in countries known for illicit logging activities and graft, a report released today said.
The report, released after five years of research by a coalition of international and Chinese organisations, called for governments and the forestry industry to increase transparency and crackdown on corruption driving illegal logging.
About 70 percent of all timber imported into China is converted into furniture, plywood and other processed products, and then exported, according to the report.
"Few consumer realise that the cheap prices they pay are directly linked to the exploitation of some of the poorest people on Earth and the destruction of their forests," said Andy White, the report's lead author, in a statement.
The report also suggested that China could boost its own timber production, reduce its reliance on raw material imports and alleviate rural poverty if it strengthened property rights and allowed people to invest in forest production.