Lum­ber group to re­visit China

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By LOUISA YOU in Van­cou­ver For China Daily

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.

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