Forests minister Doug Donaldson (l) stands next to lifts of Canfor lumber in a housing factory in China recently. He was leading B.C.’s largest ever forest sector trade mission to China and Japan.

Lumber trade mission returns from China

Largest ever forest industry trade mission from B.C. also visits Japan

Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Minister Doug Donaldson recently returned from British Columbia’s largest-ever forest sector delegation to China and Japan.

From Nov. 12 to 17 he was joined by over 30 senior executives from B.C. forest companies and associations.

“We need to continue to diversify and expand markets for B.C. wood products, both at home and abroad,” said Donaldson. “Forestry is one of B.C.’s founding industries, and an important part of a sustainable economy, that in 2016 supported more than 60,000 workers and their families in communities throughout B.C.”

READ MORE: British Columbia to fight softwood lumber duties

China and Japan are B.C.’s second- and third-largest markets for softwood lumber products. Trade mission participants will meet with customers and government officials, and explore ways to raise the value of the products B.C. exports.

“B.C. is a world leader in sustainable forestry, and our carbon-friendly building materials are in demand around the globe,” said Susan Yurkovich, president and CEO, Council of Forest Industries. “We currently export about a third of our forest products to China and Japan and see more opportunity to grow in these markets and to showcase how B.C.’s innovative building materials can help reduce the environmental impact of the built environment.”

In China, delegates discussed how B.C. wood products can help the country meet ambitious goals it has set related to prefabrication and green building. They attended the third annual Sino-Canada Wood Conference, which emphasized opportunities for wood in prefabricated construction.

Trade mission delegates also met with officials from Jiangsu Province to review the progress made to advance wood-frame construction with the support of B.C. experts, including a wood truss re-roofing system and prefabricated infill hybrid walls.

“Trade missions such as these help reinforce the fact that B.C. is a reliable trade partner for high-quality wood products from sustainable sources,” said Rick Jeffery, president and CEO, Coast Forest Products Association. “They help us to advance new high-value opportunities, from multi-storey residential buildings in China to tourist resorts in Japan.”

In Japan, the focus is on expanding the use of wood in multi-family and non-residential construction, and new applications for higher-value engineered wood products. Delegates toured a resort construction site in Koyaru, and learned about growing opportunities for B.C. wood in Japan’s tourism sector. The Minister visited the Canadian Pavilion at the Japan Home and Building Show and toured the Tokyo Lumber Terminal.

Trade missions are a cornerstone of provincial-federal-industry market development efforts in Asia, and raise the understanding about the specific needs of key markets like China and Japan.

Quick Facts:

• In 2016, B.C.’s softwood lumber exports to China totalled over $1 billion.

• In 2016, B.C.’s softwood lumber exports to Japan totalled $725 million.

• In 2016, B.C.’s forest sector directly supported 60,000 workers and their families in more than 140 B.C. communities.

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