BC Forestry Trade Mission Strengthens Relationships, Opens Opportunities in Asia’s Green Building Market
(Vancouver) – The British Columbia forest industry concludes its 8-day trade mission to Asia today with a focus on strengthened relationships with existing customers and future partners, as well as new opportunities to work collaboratively to advance wood construction, particularly in Asia’s green, energy efficient and low-carbon buildings market.
“This trade mission provided an excellent opportunity to continue to strengthen relationships with our customers and trading partners in Korea, Japan and China,” said Susan Yurkovich, President and CEO, BC Council of Forest Industries [COFI]. “As some of the largest markets for B.C.’s forest products, we value our relationships in these countries. It was encouraging to hear from our customers and stakeholders that B.C.’s renewable forest products continue to be in demand in Asia, particularly to advance green building initiatives.”
“This year’s forestry trade mission included a broad delegation that was directly involved in establishing new opportunities for advancing wood construction in Asia and diversifying markets for Canadian companies,” said Bruce St. John, President of Canada Wood. “We see strong potential to work collaboratively with our partners in Korea, Japan and China to commercialize new technologies using Canadian forest products.”
More than 40 delegates from the B.C. forest sector, First Nations, and government visited Korea from December 7 to 8, Japan from December 9 to 11, with forest industry delegates continuing to China December 12 to 14 for the business program.
B.C. has been a leader in developing markets overseas through Canada Wood, a partnership between the forest industry, the B.C. Government through B.C. Forestry Innovation Investment, and the federal government through Natural Resources Canada. This highly successful partnership works to expand market opportunities for Canadian wood products in traditional and emerging offshore markets such as Japan, China, Korea, ASEAN countries and in India.
- Japan, Korea and China account for almost 30% of B.C.’s forest product exports.
- China is the second largest market for B.C.’s forest products, after the United States, and the value and volume of products to China has increased 20-fold since 2003.
- 140,000 jobs across B.C. are dependent on the forest industry.
About the BC Council of Forest Industries
The BC Council of Forest Industries (COFI) is the voice of the B.C. forest industry. B.C.’s forest industry is adapting, evolving and innovating, and continues to be one of the most significant economic drivers in the province and the largest producer of softwood lumber in Canada.
About Canada Wood
The Canada Wood Group is a partnership between industry and government that helps Canadian wood products manufacturers diversify and expand export opportunities for their products in traditional and emerging overseas markets, including Europe, Japan, China, South Korea and India.
- Backgrounder: Highlights of the Trade Mission by Country
- Backgrounder: Quotes from Forest Industry Participants
- Photos: To view and download photos from the trade mission, please visit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bc_cofi/albums
BACKGROUNDER: Highlights of the Trade Mission by Country
- A highlight of the Korea mission was the signing of a MOU between Canada Wood Korea and the Korean Institute of Architects, which has more than 4,000 members. This technical co-operation agreement will help educate the architects and designers in Korea about Canadian wood construction technology, including wood-frame residential housing.
- The Canadian Embassy in Korea provided a market overview highlighting the opportunities to expand in Korea drawing on the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement.
- The B.C. forest sector reaffirmed its commitment to the Korea market at a Canada-Korea Forest Business Leaders luncheon.
- 150 architects and engineers participated in a Seismic Design Symposium and discussed the role of wood construction in seismic safety.
- The delegation also visited the Canada Village, the largest wood-frame housing development in South Korea which will include 154 units when complete, to be constructed using Canadian lumber and with technical support from Canada Wood.
- In Japan, the delegation visited Tokyo and the surrounding areas, including meeting with the Canadian Embassy for an update on Japan and Canada-Japan bilateral relations.
- The Canadian Embassy hosted a business to business reception with 188 participants, where the industry was able to interact with our key Japanese customers – reaffirming our commitment to the Japanese market and our long-standing business relationships.
- The delegation visited Mitsui Homes and Polus-Tec to tour impressive factories that pre-fabricated wood buildings. These operations showcase how wood species from the interior and coast of B.C. are being used in the Japanese market.
- The delegation also visited a five-story elder care facility under construction which uses the emerging mid-ply-wall system technology developed in British Columbia.
- Delegates attended the Sino-Canada wood conference, which promotes Canadian forest products in China. More than 200 key customers and design and construction professionals attended the conference to learn more about how Canadian wood technology can support Chinese construction objectives. A key focus of the conference was opportunities and applications of wood in the cultural, tourism, healthcare and particularly the elderly care sector. By 2050, estimates are that China will have more than 500 million people over 60 years of age.
- Awards were presented to the winning recipients of a wood design competition, focusing on tourism and elderly-care projects, which received 106 entries from 47 companies.
- A customer dinner, attended by Canada’s Ambassador to China John McCallum, provided an opportunity for the B.C. industry to host customers and reinforce its commitment to the Chinese market.
BACKGROUNDER: Quotes from Forest Industry Participants
“As the world collectively looks to address the challenges of climate change, there is no better, no more sustainable, no more versatile and beautiful building product than wood. The B.C. forest sector is a long-time supplier of high quality wood products to the Asian market, and trade missions such as this support opportunities to see this market grow.”
– Susan Yurkovich, President and CEO, BC Council of Forest Industries
“The BC Trade Mission to Korea, Japan and China is a venue to demonstrate the level of commitment from both the provincial and federal governments, Canada Wood and Industry to our valued overseas markets. We see tremendous value in showing our support as we continue to foster our relationships and drive demand for Canadian Softwood in our key export markets.”
-Bart Bender, SVP Sales & Marketing, Interfor Corporation
“In China, we are seeing significant progress in having wood incorporated into government policy that supports their initiative to support and grow Green building methods. China is a large and growing market for lumber, and Canada is very well positioned to meet this growing demand.”
– Kevin Pankratz, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Canfor
“This year’s mission was a great success. The work that the Canada Wood offices in each country are doing is helping industry develop new business.”
-Allan Shaw, General Manager Export Lumber Sales, West Fraser
“With the recent acceptance of ‘Green Build’ in China’s constitution, it is imperative that British Columbia continues to build and develop deeper relationships with China. The current B. Trade Mission is seeing the progress first hand during our trip in the Beijing area, along with further potential for B.C. lumber products on the horizon.”
– Hans Thur, Executive Vice President Conifex Timber
“The mission showed me that the years spent by Canada Wood in developing markets and relationships for the Forest Industry in B.C. has paid off in a big way. The opportunities I have seen on the mission to build on that success, appear to have a bright future. The work underway to diversify markets and gain a larger market share in Asia is good news for forest workers and their communities.”
-Brian Butler, President, USW Local 1-1937
“The BC Trade Mission to Asia and more specifically China is a critical piece to the ongoing development of the forest products industry in Northern B.C. With 85% of our lumber shipping to Asia out of the Port of Prince Rupert and 100% of our BioFuel (pellets) products destined for Japan, it’s a region that requires our full attention.”
– Rick Harris, VP Sales and Marketing, Skeena Sawmills & Skeena BioEnergy
“The ILMA was very pleased to participate in the BC Trade Mission to Asia. We believe these types of missions not only open up markets for many B.C. lumber products but also expose independent, value added, specialty manufacturing companies like the members of the ILMA to major markets outside of the U.S. This will continue to strengthen the diversity and stability our industry needs.
– Ken Kalesnikoff, Board Chair, Interior Lumber Manufacturers’ Association
“We had a great day in Beijing at the Sino-Canada Wood Conference and Wood Construction Design Competition Award ceremony. With North American wood product markets under pressure, it has been a timely visit to the largest global wood importing country. This trade mission, comprised of executives of major Canadian forest products companies and Canada Wood staff, who act as our in-market overseas market development representatives, has been an invaluable opportunity to reinforce our commitment to the market, our customers and end users of Canadian wood products in China.”
-John Langley, General Manager Export Sales and Marketing, Tolko Marketing and Sales Ltd.