Beijing would rather sacrifice its timber industry than allow rampant logging to continue, Premier Zhu Rongji said. On an inspection tour of the flood-hit city of Harbin, Heilongjiang province, the Premier told cadres they must follow Beijing's order to stop logging and find new jobs for the unemployed. 'We can make up the shortfall by imports after we cut our timber production,' Mr Zhu said. 'Imports are often cheaper than our own output. But we must make sure the timber workers' basic livelihood is looked after.' Yang Guodong, head of Yichun Forestry Bureau, promised to stop logging before the year's end and ensure work for the jobless. Heilongjiang, previously a base for heavy industry, already faces serious unemployment as most state-owned enterprises struggle to survive and pay workers. Beijing last week announced a similar logging ban in the upper Yangtze River. Mr Zhu defended the bans, saying rampant logging was at least partly to blame for this summer's floods. 'The disaster has, at least in part, been due to rampant deforestation which has led to serious erosion,' he said.