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United States Hosts Third Meeting of the U.S.-China Forum on Combating Illegal Logging and Associated Trade

Washington, D.C. –U.S. and Chinese government officials convened the third meeting of the Bilateral Forum under the U.S.-China Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Combating Illegal Logging and Associated Trade yesterday. Mark Linscott, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative (AUSTR) for Environment and Natural Resources, and Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, led a U.S. delegation that included the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Justice, and the Agency for International Development. Mr. ZHANG Yongli, Vice Administrator of the State Forestry Administration, led the Chinese delegation. The meeting concluded today.

“The Bilateral Forum continues to be a constructive, creative approach to an important and challenging problem. Working together, the United States and China can make significant contributions to reduce environmental and economic damage from illegal logging and associated trade,” AUSTR Linscott said.

The third meeting of the Bilateral Forum advanced cooperation on efforts to combat illegal logging and promote trade in legally harvested forest products. During the meeting, the United States and China exchanged information on a variety of initiatives, including those with other countries, and explored ways to enhance bilateral cooperation. They discussed cooperation with the private sector and civil society in both countries and reviewed their experience with an ongoing trade data exchange. The delegations also reviewed outcomes from the meeting of the Asia-Pacific Regional Dialogue to Promote Trade in Legally Harvested Forest Products that was hosted by the U.S. in July.

Background

The United States and China are two of the largest importers and exporters of forest products. The governments concluded an MOU on combating illegal logging and associated trade under the Strategic & Economic Dialogue (S&ED) in 2007. The MOU can be found here.

A central element of the MOU is the creation of a bilateral forum to increase cooperation between the two countries. The Bilateral Forum includes multiple agencies from both governments to ensure a comprehensive approach to addressing challenges presented by illegal logging and associated trade. The Bilateral Forum met previously in January 2009 in Beijing, China and June 2008 in Washington, D.C.