Russia and China are due to hold negotiations on forest management co-operation for the first time.

A Chinese State Forestry Administration delegation is due to visit Moscow on August 15-19 and the talks will focus on development of a joint programme.

This will include the creation of a database of Chinese enterprises that buy timber from Russia and Russian logging companies. The database will enable timber supplies to be tracked and help clamp down on illegal logging.

The delegates will also review measures to fight forest fires along the countries’ borders and leasing regulations for Chinese logging companies operating in Russia.

China, which has invested more than US$1m in Russia’s timber industry, is the biggest player in Russia’s timber trade – accounting for 6.1% or £11.5bn in 2004.

Russia’s annual exports to China amount to 15 million m3 of rough timber and it currently has 43 joint forest projects with China, extracting 1.9 million m3 of timber annually.