The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said log exports to China will resume from both South Carolina and Virginia under a six month pilot program.
The Virginia Port Authority had announced
last month that the exports would be allowed to restart.
Concerns about nematodes found in pine log shipments that Chinese officials identified as coming from the two states caused them to ban shipments, even though USDA inspects found many of the pest interceptions came from the West Coast and states other than Virginia and South Carolina.
In early April, as part of ongoing technical discussions with Chinese plant health officials, including information sharing and discussion of an export pilot program, APHIS hosted a visit by Chinese officials to log production, inspection and fumigation and shipping locations in Virginia and South Carolina. After the visit, China agreed to institute a six-month pilot program for log exports, beginning on June 1 and lasting through Dec. 1, 2012.
Under the terms of the agreement, logs exported to China during the pilot program must meet all existing export requirements, as well as certain additional requirements for fumigations, enhanced pinewood nematode testing, phytosanitary certification, and ports of entry. At the end of the pilot program, if all logs exported to China have met quarantine requirements, China will formally reopen the market for log exports from Virginia and South Carolina.
China is the second largest market for U.S. timber. Ports in Virginia and South Carolina handled more than $500 million in U.S. forestry exports last year. - Chris Dupin