Facing the complexities of the global timber trade regime: how do Chinese wood enterprises respond to international legality verification requirements, and what are the implications for regime effectiveness?

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The emergence of transnational approaches to combat illegal logging and related trade through legality verification (LV) has spurred debate about the implications for the global timber trade regime. Scholars debate to what extent the various actors will support LV, and whether LV will undermine private forest certification and higher standards due to operators’ venue shopping. This paper explores Chinese wood enterprises’ responses and discusses the implications for regime effectiveness. Based on primary data from 158 questionnaires and secondary data we find that, although the majority of the sampled export-oriented Chinese companies have heard about LV requirements, only few have detailed knowledge. Furthermore, they look to their customers’ different requirements, and therefore often apply multiple measures simultaneously rather than do venue shopping. The question whether LV will undermine standards and certification therefore to a high extent bounces back to customers and import authorities. On the other hand, the Chinese companies consider the complexities of the timber regime a major constraint for meeting customers’ requirements and therefore for own uptake and support. There is hence a need to reduce complexity in order to ensure regime effectiveness. We suggest this is best achieved by increased transparency of and alignment between the various LV regulations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalForest Policy and Economics
Pages (from-to)169-180
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • China, EUTR, Lacey Act amendment, Forest certification, Legality verification, Regime complexity

ID: 202943149