China will begin to lift its ban on imports of Virginia's hardwood and softwood logs under a six-month pilot project, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said Wednesday.
Although technical details are being finalized, Virginia logs will be allowed to re-enter China beginning on June 1 in certain designated ports and with enhanced pest treatment and testing protocols under the terms of the pilot project.
China banned hardwood and softwood log exports from Virginia and South Carolina in April 2011, citing pest interceptions on logs exported from the U.S.
China’s ban on log imports from Virginia depressed container throughput at the Port of Virginia last year. Total volume through the Virginia ports rose by just 1.2 percent year-over-year, half the growth rates at other East Coast ports.
“China is our second largest agricultural trade partner, and the ban was negatively impacting both Virginia's exporters and our valued customers in China,” McConnell said on Wednesday. "I'm pleased that our focused efforts with the Chinese government, our federal partners, and Virginia log exporters have finally yielded positive results.
The value of Virginia's 2011 global log exports was estimated at nearly $57 million, down $10 million from 2010. Prior to the ban, Virginia was a major East Coast log supplier to China, the world's largest log importer.