Tuesday, 3 December 2013

China bans import of Ash from Europe

AQSIQ Import ban notice
China has banned the import of ash (Fraxinus Excelsior) in log and sawn timber form from Europe.  This adds to the existing ban for the import of seeds and nursery stock.  

China has been a large importer of ash over the last few years this ban is significant for those involved in the trade.  

Whilst there are other important markets for ash, for example firewood, this immediate cessation of exports may have an impact on price for some parts of the supply chain.

Some commentators have suggested that woodland owners cease felling ash (for export) until the longevity of the ban is established.  

Other commentators, such as the Forestry Commission, have also suggested that woodland owners might consider delaying the felling of ash.  However, this is to prevent the loss of resistant trees rather than a temporary cessation of activity oriented towards export markets.

Ash dieback distribution (Source: Forestry Commission)
Interesting China recommends that local forestry administrations should reinforce surveillance of ash dieback and implement emergency response plans.  In Kent, where ash dieback is now widespread, local guidance is being prepared and County emergency planners have developed a response plan.

China's ban is immediate and will remain in place until the status of the epidemic allow the ban to be removed.  

Given that the impact of ash dieback is only beginning to be felt in the east of England and Kent it could be that China's plan stays in place for several years.

This could also be an opportunity for the UK.  If ash can no longer be exported easily from the UK this might be positive for those involved in indigenous supply and consumption.  This blog is not aware of the economics of timber for export to China but our guess is that ash firewood supplied locally is probably far more valuable (as is most firewood)!

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