Government investing $24M to grow markets for BC wood products
By Ellen Cools
The Canadian government today announced it will be investing more than $24 million in six B.C.-based wood product associations to help increase international demand for Canadian wood products.
Canada Wood Group will receive $16,786,200 to help diversify and expand Canadian forest product exports to traditional and new offshore markets. According to a government news release, the funding will help enable market research; assist in the transfer of technology; promote standards that will increase wood use in construction; and provide wood design and construction training in China, Japan, South Korea, India and Europe.
Meanwhile, Forestry Innovation Investment, B.C.’s market development agency for forest products, will receive $3,394,709 to promote training, e education and wood use overseas, specifically in India, Vietnam and China.
The BC Council of Forest Industries (COFI) is set to receive $1,925,378 to help create business leads for wood-frame construction in China, Japan and South Korea. According to the press release, the money will also help COFI reinforce the Canada Wood brand as a “go-to” source for wood construction and manufacturing technology.
The government has committed $944,028 for BC Wood Specialties Group to help small and medium-sized companies become more export-ready and facilitate business-to-business opportunities for their membership through trade shows and missions.
The Wood Pellet Association of Canada (WPAC) will receive $926,360 to promote the interests of domestic wood pellet producers, help its members grow by promoting wood pellet use in Canada and globally, and support market and technical research, as well as promote fair and open energy trade.
Finally, $33,000 will go to the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association to help increase its online presence in several international markets, in order to maintain and grow the demand for western red cedar.
“This partnership between industry and government has been extremely successful as we work together to expand and diversify overseas markets for the high-quality, carbon-friendly wood products manufactured in B.C. The long-term federal funding enables us to cultivate strong relationships with overseas customers while supporting 140,000 forestry-reliant jobs in communities across British Columbia. We look forward to this continued partnership between industry and the governments of Canada and British Columbia,” said Paul Newman, executive director of market and trade, COFI, in a statement.
“The wood pellet industry has grown from almost nothing to 35 million tons a year globally in 25 years. Canadian pellet producers have been part of that astonishing growth from the beginning, exporting our first ship-load of pellets to Sweden in 1998. Today, Canadian pellet companies export around three million tons a year, contributing to Canada’s economy, jobs growth at home, forest health and the global roll-out of renewable, on-demand electricity, all while optimizing the beneficial use of waste residuals from the forest sector,” said Vaughan Bassett, president, WPAC, in the press release. “This success story has been strongly supported by the government of Canada’s Expanding Market Opportunities (EMO) program. EMO has enabled us to be fully engaged in seeking out new customers in our export markets, carrying out market research, developing international quality standards, solving market access issues, demonstrating Canadian forest and wood pellet sustainability and many other areas of export market development. We see ongoing funding as crucial to the future growth of Canada’s share of business in key export markets, particularly those in Asia and Europe.”
The funding is provided through Natural Resources Canada’s Expanding Market Opportunities program, which supports market development for Canada’s forest products industry.