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U.S. and China Announce Memorandum of Understanding on Illegal Logging and Associated Trade at SED III




Washington, D.C. - The United States and China concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Illegal Logging and Associated Trade on the occasion of the Third Meeting of the Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED III).  This MOU is a first ever between the two countries in focusing on the role of international trade in illegal logging.  The MOU will help the countries take actions to promote trade in forest products from legally-harvested timber.

The MOU reflects the two countries’ decision to establish a bilateral forum for cooperation in support of efforts to combat illegal logging.  The forum will identify priority activities for cooperation, promote trade in forest products from legally-harvested resources, encourage public-private partnerships, and pursue negotiations on a detailed bilateral agreement to be completed by SED IV.  U. S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab hailed negotiation of the MOU “as a positive step forward in using the trade agenda to address an important environmental and conservation issue that has significant implications for climate change.”

Forests are a major factor in the global effort to address climate change, with deforestation worldwide accounting for approximately 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.


The U.S. effort to conclude a cooperative MOU on illegal logging and associated trade was co-led by the State Department and the Office of the United States Trade Representative.  Representation in the bilateral forum will include multiple agencies on both sides to ensure a comprehensive approach to addressing challenges presented by international trade associated with illegal logging.

Illegal logging contributes significantly to the high rates of deforestation currently occurring worldwide.  Deforestation not only threatens the health and survival of forests and the humans and wildlife that depend on them; it is also estimated to contribute 20 percent of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.

China and the United States are the world’s two largest consuming nations of forest products and are also major exporters. 


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