China suspends import of logs from two Australian states to stem pest risk

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/12/24 22:35:17

Photo taken on Dec. 11, 2019 shows a signboard of "China Customs" at the Hengqin Port in Zhuhai, south China's Guangdong Province. The construction of the new Hengqin Port and an integrated transportation hub runs smoothly. It is expected that the daily crossings at the Hengqin Port will reach up to 222,000 once the new port begins operation. (Xinhua/Jin Liangkuai)

China's General Administration of Customs (GAC) has suspended log imports from Australia's New South Wales and Western Australia, according to a notice issued by the GAC on Thursday.

In order to prevent the introduction of harmful organisms and protect domestic agricultural and forestry production and environmental safety, China decided to suspend imports of logs from Australia's New South Wales and Western Australia, based on relevant Chinese laws and regulations and international standards, according to the notice.

Recently, customs inspectors in Tianjin, Nanjing, Xiamen, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Huangpu intercepted live forest pests from logs imported from the two Australian states.

The GAC has informed the competent authorities on the Australian side of the situation.

The GAC ordered all affiliated branches to suspend acceptance of customs declarations for logs from New South Wales and Western Australia that departed on and after Tuesday.

Customs bureaus should further strengthen the quarantine of imported Australian logs, and if any harmful organisms are found, they should be sent to the laboratory for identification, the GAC said.

If it is confirmed to be a quarantine pest, the goods should be returned for disposal, and the situation should be reported to the GAC. 

China suspended log imports from other Australian states - Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia - due to the detection of quarantine pest in the products earlier this year.

"Relevant measures taken by the competent Chinese authorities against products exported to China are in line with Chinese laws and regulations and international practices. They are what must be done to protect China's domestic industries and consumers," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in November.

It's been a bumpy year for China-Australia relations, as for some time, Canberra has repeatedly engaged in erroneous words and deeds on issues concerning Beijing's core interests, analysts said. Economic and trade ties have also suffered and more Australian exporters are warning of job losses, according to a recent survey.

China has expressed the hope that the Australian side will do more to enhance mutual trust and cooperation, and follow the spirit of the China-Australia comprehensive strategic partnership so as to create favorable conditions and atmosphere for practical cooperation between the two sides.
Newspaper headline: Customs suspends log imports from two Australian states to stem pest risk


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