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US, China sign MoU on combating illegal wood tradeTags: china united states governance & corruption politics responsibility government

Beijing, China - China and the US today agreed to work together in combating illegal logging and the associated wood trade to promote sustainable forest management in a move Washington described as 'ground breaking'.

In a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed after their third strategic economic dialogue, the two countries agreed to share information on shipments of timber, step up law enforcement against illegal activity and encourage private-sector partnerships.

The US, in its statement calling the move as 'ground breaking,' said it was the first time that the world's top two consumers of natural resources had used an MoU to address illegal resource trade.

A detailed bilateral agreement would be negotiated on the basis of the MoU, China said in its statement, the official news agency reported.

Environment protection and promoting clean energy was a 'shared priority' for both sides, the US statement said, adding illegal logging contributed 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 to 20 per cent of the worldwide greenhouse gas emissions,' the statement noted.

In June, China had agreed with India, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates to sign a joint agreement with Tanzania for information sharing on timber exports, to curb tax evasion in Tanzania.

China, the world's leading producer of timber-based items such as man-made boards, wood flooring, carbon and furniture, consumed nearly 330 million cubic metres of timber last year, a volume second only to the US.

In another step on environmental sustainability, China and the United States agreed to establish a national sulfur dioxide emissions trading programme in China, with American technical assistance to support the development of the necessary infrastructure and institutional capacity to implement the programme.

© Zee News (India) 2007-12-13
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