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Statement commits China to forestry cooperation

This photo taken on Oct 3, 2020 shows a view of the Xigou forest farm in Minhe Hui and Tu Autonomous county, Haidong city, northwest China's Qinghai province. (WU GANG / XINHUA)

China will strengthen its cooperation with central and eastern European nations on the protection and utilization of forest resources to contribute to the climate objectives of the UN's 2030 Agenda, according to The Beijing Statement on Forest Bioeconomy Cooperation released on Wednesday.

The statement was announced at the Third China-CEEC High-level Conference on Forestry Cooperation, which attracted the participation of forestry authorities from 16 countries, including China, Greece, Slovakia and Slovenia.

According to a statement, China will further cooperate with CEE countries in areas including wood processing, biomass energy, the pulp and paper industry, pharmaceuticals based on forest products, and forest tourism and related industries

According to the statement, China will further cooperate with CEE countries in areas including wood processing, biomass energy, the pulp and paper industry, pharmaceuticals based on forest products, and forest tourism and related industries.

Multiple approaches will be encouraged to promote such cooperation, including joint research programs, forest products trade and investment, and training and education programs.

In recent years, China has made greater efforts to advance ecological civilization-a concept promoted by President Xi Jinping that advocates balanced and sustainable development.

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Thanks to the country's afforestation efforts, China now has more than 220 million hectares of forest and its forest coverage now stands at 23.04 percent, according to the National Forestry and Grassland Administration.

"Forests are an ecological safeguard for the survival of humanity and the material basis for developing a forest bioeconomy," Guan Zhiou, head of the administration, said at the conference.

"The Chinese government highly values the role of forests in safeguarding eco-security, developing eco-civilization and achieving sustainable development."

He said developing the bioeconomy and promoting green, low-carbon and circular development is an inevitable choice for achieving sustainable development and a common expectation of the international community.

"China will continue on our road to pursue an innovative, green and balanced development," Guan said.

"We will further develop biotechnology and bio-industries and boost the green economy, helping to achieve the goals of the UN's 2030 Agenda for sustainable development."

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In 2019, the volume of economic forest products in China reached 195 million metric tons, and forest-related industries, including wood processing and forest tourism, had an annual output value of more than 1 trillion yuan (US$156 billion), according to the administration.

CEE countries are important partners with China in the trade of forest-related products, said Yang Chao, chief economist from the administration.

Between 2016 and 2019, the value of forest products traded between China and CEE countries rose from US$1.37 billion to US$2.4 billion, climbing at a year-on-year rate of about 20 percent.

Yang said China and CEE countries should make use of their advantages in terms of markets or talent to achieve sustainable development and cut carbon emissions.

"We encourage more cooperation and communication, not only between government sectors but also between enterprises and nongovernment organizations or research institutes," Yang said.