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Chinese FM Spokesperson's Remarks on Suspension of Timber Import from Victoria of Australia by Chinese Authority

2020-11-13

At a regular press conference of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China on November 12, Spokesperson Wang Wenbin answered a question about China’s suspension of timber import from Victoria of Australia.

Journalist: Australia's Victoria state said China has banned the import of Australian timber after they found pests in Australian timber. Some in Australia have speculated that it is no coincidence that China found pests in Australian timber imports at this particular moment of deteriorating relations with China and China's restrictions on imports from Australia. What is China's comment?

Wang Wenbin: After detecting pests in Australian timber, relevant Chinese authorities have suspended timber import from Queensland since October 31, 2020. But recently, Chinese customs found pests on timber imported from the state of Victoria. These pests, once introduced, will pose a serious threat to China's agriculture and forestry as well as ecological security. In order to stem risk at the source and in accordance with relevant Chinese laws and regulations and international standards, the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC) has decided to suspend the import of timber from the state of Victoria from November 11, 2020.

The GACC has informed the competent authorities of the Australian side of the above situation and required the Australian side to improve the plant quarantine management system for timber exported to China. The measures taken by the GACC are normal bio-security precautions, which are science-based and reasonable and in line with relevant Chinese laws and regulations and international practices.

I also want to tell you that the 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. At the same time, I would like to stress once again that a healthy and stable China-Australia relationship serves the fundamental interests of the two peoples. Mutual respect is the basis and guarantee for practical cooperation among countries. We hope that the Australian side will match its words with deeds, 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.

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