Lee Nutter, president and chief executive officer of US timber company Rayonier, has been honoured by China.

Mr Nutter, who was a young log salesman when he first went to China in 1980, received the Marco Polo Award, which recognises Americans who have made special contributions to China’s development.

Rayonier’s 25-year relationship with China includes supporting trade development and cultural, educational and humanitarian projects. Its Chinese business started 20 years ago with the opening of an office in Beijing.

In 1989 the company donated high-quality US timber for the renovation of the 450-year-old Zhaoling Imperial Tomb.