The draft of a new Chinese Forest Law has been approved and will be effective from the 1st of July 2020. 

To date, anyone who purchases timber which was harvested in a Chinese forest have needed to collect a timber harvest permit and a timber transportation permit. These two documents were essential to verify the timber origin. However, from the 1st of July, the timber owner does not need to apply for the timber transportation permit anymore.

The linkage between the harvest site and primary processor would rely on other supporting documents. We recommend the importers collecting documents such as packing list or delivery note to prove the timber was harvested from the claimed origin.

To fight the illegal logging, the new Chinese forestry law regulates the manufacturers of timber products who are required to establish a book-keeping system of their input material and output product. It is prohibited to purchase, manufacture or transport timber which is known from illegal logging sources. (Article 65)  Confidentiality is one of the biggest challenges in tracing the timber origin along the supply chains. It is still to be observed whether Article 65 in new Chinese forestry law would enable the operators to obtain necessary information for the due diligence process.

All harvests in Chinese forests would still require applying for a timber harvest permit. The issue of the timber harvest permit is subject to the available annual harvest quota which is regulated by forest management plan by local forest authority. According to the notice, the application of timber harvest permit shall be assisted with an online service to remove the burden of administrative process. By that, the Chinese authorities expect to see the increase in the application rate. At the same time, the remaining available harvest quota would be accessible for the public. The digital system shall be opened alongside the implementation of the updated Chinese forestry law. 

Our expertise in the Chinese forest legality could be of assistance to your due diligence process in EU Timber Regulation, Lacey Act or other timber import legislation. For more questions about document authentication or legality, please contact us: