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China denies plan to rent 1 mln ha Russian forests
Latest Updated by 2006-08-15 15:11:44
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A State Forestry Administration (SFA) spokesman on Tuesday denied a media report that China would rent one million hectares of Russian forests to develop timber resources.

Cao Qingyao, the spokesman, said at a press conference held by the Information Office of the State Council that the SFA "had not received any official invitation from the Russian side," commenting on the report carried by Russia's Independence newspaper. 

Timber was an important part of world trade, and China and Russia could cooperate in a range of areas when it came to processing forest resources, he said.

In terms of technology, labor and resources, the two nations had complementary advantages, Cao added.

China had joined with other countries to fell and process timber in legal projects with cooperation from governments, state-owned enterprises and private businesses.

China imported timber mainly from Russia, the United States, Indonesia, Canada and Japan.

The Chinese government, which always tried to be a responsible player in the international arena, opposed and would resolutely prevent illegal felling and imports of timber, Cao said. "China exercises very strict curbs on imports."

The spokesman said the government was focusing on becoming self-reliant for timber, citing plans to cultivate 200 million mu (13.3 million hectares) of forests by 2015 to produce 200 million cubic meters of timber.

A series of credit and taxation policies would be outlined to support forestry management, he said.

Commenting on an American scholar's projection that China would use up all forest resources in the world by 2031, Cao said the estimation is "unscientific."

Forestry coverage has more than doubled since new China was founded in 1949, and the country's timber exports surpassed imports in 2005.

But Cao also acknowledged China is still facing shortfall of paper sheets and pulp.

Editor: Yan

By: Source: China View website
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