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BC, China sign wood-frame MOU

Aug. 13, 2014, Victoria - Efforts to expand export markets for B.C. lumber took a major step forward last night with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding designed to increase the use of wood-frame construction in China.

Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson and Tan Yueming, Minister of Housing and Urban Rural Development in China's Zhejiang province, took part in the official signing ceremony via videoconference.

The ceremony follows through on a commitment the two governments made last fall during Thomson's trade mission to China. The Province of Zhejiang had expressed interest in developing wood-frame construction expertise in its growing tourism sector and other applications. In China, memoranda of understanding are the first step toward increasing commercial activity.

The MOU calls on the two governments to promote the use of environmentally friendly low-carbon, wood-frame construction, develop wood-frame construction codes and standards for application in China, and organize exchange visits for government and representatives to share technical and experience and knowledge.

B.C. will also increase co-operation with Zhejiang on wood-frame construction research, with a specific focus on local construction needs in Zhejiang province, including government-funded public building projects and home renovations.

In 2013, B.C. exported a record $1.4 billion worth of lumber to China, up from $1.1 billion in 2012. Zhejiang in China's tenth largest province (by population). The MOU will remain in effect for the next five years.