Lumber group to revisit China
The annual British Columbia Forestry Asia Trade Mission this year is set for China and Japan and will take place from Nov 27 through Dec 5.
Led by Minister of Forests, Land and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson, the mission includes a delegation of more than 30 senior executives from forest companies and associations across British Columbia.
The trade mission is Thomson’s fourth to China and Japan as forests minister, as Premier Christy Clark has tasked him with annual missions to Asia as a ministerial mandate.
“BC’s forest sector continues to build on its success in Asia’s key lumber markets,” said Thomson. “This year’s trade mission is another opportunity to develop those vital relationships between governments, industry associations and businesses that support forestry jobs throughout British Columbia.”
In 2014, BC’s forest industry supported more than 146,000 direct and indirect jobs across the province, and forest products accounted for 36 percent of all exports. The forest sector currently represents C$12 billion of the province’s GDP.
“Japan and China are our secondand third-most important markets, so annually we go to make sure that we can continue to help build markets for our industry in those very important areas,” Thomson said.
Susan Yurkovich, president and CEO of the Council of Forest Industries, said “trade missions are vital for creating and maintaining strong bonds between the BC forest industry and our partners in overseas markets” because they “allow us to tell our story directly to our customers, reminding them that when they buy BC wood, they’re not only getting the highest-quality products in the world, but they also know that those products come from sustainably managed forests.”
In 2014, China took 25 percent of BC’s softwood lumber exports, totalling $1.43 billion, making China up the value chain in the markets,” Thomson continued. The sector is looking to expand interest in new forms of construction to make BC’s softwood products even more valuable.
“We’ve had very significant growth in those markets over the last number of years,” Thomson said. “China has grown exponentially. Currently, we’re seeing a bit of a slowdown in the market over there due to the economic conditions in China, and that’s why it’s very important for us to be there to build those opportunities.”
“We still see tremendous opportunities in that market,” he added.
Site visits are planned for the mission at development facilities in Dalian and Tokyo, according to a press release. The delegation also plans to meet with both government and industry officials in China and Japan as well as buyers and stakeholders.
Delegates are expected to attend the Sino-Canada Wood Conference and meet with China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban and Rural Development.