"This designation is positive news for Alaska's timber exporters," said Murkowski. "It is a good outcome after several years of persistent negotiation between China and the U.S. The Division of Agriculture and the timber industry spearheaded this effort and successfully kept the pressure on both sides. It was a privilege to work alongside them on this issue and now to see success." The Division of Agriculture and the state's trade office worked closely with the timber industry to resolve the log fumigation issue.
Officials designated the Port of Xiuyu as China's first and only zone for the fumigation of round logs. The fumigation facilities will open for business by June 2005. More than 400 people attended the investment conference -- 250 Chinese buyers, importers, and officials and 150 foreign guests, including representatives from three of Alaska's major log exporters.
Eliminating trade barriers, such as the log fumigation requirements, is good for Alaska, noted the governor. "China is a key market for our log exporters and that export market helps to keep the forest products industry going in Alaska." Log exports to China totaled $2.9 million in 2004, up from sales of $2.5 million in 2003.
Ross Stevens of Sealaska Timber Company made remarks at the conference and used the time to promote Alaska timber resources. Sealaska also signed a letter of intent to lease log storage in the new processing zone.
Representatives from forest products companies with Alaska connections included Mr. Stevens, Eric Nichols of Alcan Forest Products, Charles Kim of Trans-Pac, and Yingdi Wang, the State of Alaska trade representative contractor from Beijing.