Asia has become a major market for forest products for the United States and European traders, with China being the largest importer, while the consumption in their own region remained flat, a United Nations report said on Wednesday.
The Forest Products Annual Market Review 2011-2012, released by the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said China became the leading importer from UNECE countries in 2009.
It said net export of logs from the UNECE region, which covers 56 countries, including Canada, the Central Asian republics, Israel and the U.S., to China grew by 28 percent between 2010 and 2011.
China's needs are driven both by internal demand and by remanufacture for export back to the UNECE region, it said.
The consumption of forest products in most of the UNECE region was 10 percent lower in 2011 than before the global financial crisis, while in Russia, the consumption grew by 9 percent.
It predicted that Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization this year would have a positive effect on the development of global forest products trade because of the major reductions in the export and import tariffs.
The report also said the European and North American demand for pulp, paper and paperboard has fallen as a result of either mill closures or reduced print media usage.