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BC’s 2014 forestry trade mission

Oct. 2, 2014, Victoria - Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson will be leading a delegation of over 25 senior executives from B.C.'s forest companies and associations to China, Japan and Korea from Oct. 7 to 18, 2014.

This will be Thomson's third mission to China and Japan and first to Korea as forests minister.

China is B.C.'s second largest market for softwood lumber products. As part of the continued focus on expanding wood-frame construction, site visits will include stops at building projects in Shanghai and Nanjing. As well, meetings are planned with government officials in the Province of Jiangsu and with the national ministry of housing and urban development in Beijing to discuss renewing the 2010 memorandum of understanding to promote wood frame construction.

In Japan, delegates will be updated on the progress of the projects built under the $4.6 million Canada-Tohoku Reconstruction Project and participate in the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Council of Forest Industries/Canada Wood office in Japan. Japan is B.C.'s third largest market for softwood lumber products.

In Korea, B.C.'s fifth largest market for softwood lumber products, activities will also focus on promoting wood frame construction. With the signing of the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement, Korea's tariffs on B.C. lumber will be eliminated by 2017. B.C.'s goal is to increase the volume of wood used in Korean wood frame construction by 10% per year.

Opening and expanding markets for B.C.'s goods and services is a pillar of the BC Jobs Plan. Trade missions are a critical part of British Columbia's strategy to strengthen and diversify its international trading partners and secure new investment, propelling economic activity and job creation throughout the province. In June 2014, Premier Christy Clark re-committed Thomson to co-sponsoring annual trade missions to Asia with the forest industry.

Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson said: "I've learned that for Asian markets it's important to establish the government-to-government relationships that allow for the business-to-business relationships to grow, which in turn supports forestry jobs throughout B.C."

Rick Jeffery, president and CEO, Coast Forest Products Association, said, "the Coast Forest Products Association is pleased to join Minister Thomson and the other delegates on the 2014 forestry trade mission to Asia. This mission, like the others before it, is highly effective in continuing to expand overseas markets for the B.C. coast forest products sector and the livelihoods of 38,000 British Columbians that depend on it."

James Gorman, president and CEO, Council of Forest Industries agreed:"Trade missions are important in continuing to drive growth in our key overseas markets. Customers know that when they purchase B.C. wood products, they're buying a high-quality product from a sustainably managed forest."

In 2013, China received 26% of B.C.'s softwood lumber exports totalling $1.4 billion.
In 2013, Japan received 15% of B.C.'s softwood lumber exports totalling $825 million.
In 2013, Korea received just over 1% of B.C.'s softwood lumber exports totalling $59 million.

October 2, 2014  By  Amie Silverwood

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