Another softwood lumber dispute and renewed push to find markets, other than the U.S., for B.C.’s lumber.
British Columbia’s largest-ever forestry trade mission to Asia has focused on strengthening ties with the powerhouse economy in China and further diversification of markets for the province’s wood products.
The China leg of the trip concluded with four stops in Jiangsu Province following participation in the third-annual Sino-Canada wood conference in Shanghai.
“This trade mission is a key way for our new government to help strengthen B.C.’s rural economies and protect family-supporting forestry jobs,” said Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Minister Doug Donaldson, who is leading his first trade mission. “I’ve been encouraged to hear that government officials, builders and developers in China want to continue our favourable trade relationship in wood products.”
The Sino-Canada wood conference, an important platform to promote Canadian forest products in China, focused on how wood can help China meet its ambitious targets related to prefabrication and green building. The country aims to save energy and reduce carbon emissions by increasing the proportion of prefabricated construction in new structures to 30% in the next 10 years.
In Jiangsu, trade mission delegates met with Gu Xiaoping, Party Secretary General and Deputy Minister of the Jiangsu Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, and other officials to discuss the latest developments and the use of innovations such as the prefabricated wood infill walls and cross-laminated timber. Through its partnership with B.C., Jiangsu Province has become a leader in wood-frame construction in China.
Also in Jiangsu, Canada Wood China signed an MOU with Yadong Construction and Development Group for future co-operation on the application and promotion of wood construction technology. In China, MOUs are a first step in commercialization.
The company, a top real estate developer in Jiangsu, showed delegates how it is using wood to build resort home and tourism projects such as the Liyang project, which includes wood-frame villas, a hotel and commercial facilities. Tourism is booming in China, leading to more projects using wood-frame construction, CLT or mixed applications
Trade mission delegates ended their time in China with a tour of the Jiangsu Urban and Rural Construction College. The college wants to position itself as a leader in wood-frame construction training.
Trade missions are a cornerstone of provincial-federal-industry market development efforts in Asia, and raise the understanding about the specific needs of key markets like China and Japan.
- Jiangsu, immediately north of Shanghai, is China’s fifth-most populous province and has a population of over 79 million people.
- In 2016, B.C.’s softwood lumber exports to China totalled over $1 billion.
- In 2016, B.C.’s forest sector directly supported 60,000 workers and their families in more than 140 B.C. communities.