The Government of British Columbia is investing $6.1 million to build new markets around the world for B.C. wood products, including priority markets in China, Japan, India, and South Korea.
"Partnering with industry to expand and open markets in Asia is a major priority for our government. And it is a good deal for taxpayers as every dollar invested by the Province in this program is leveraging additional contributions from our partners in industry, and the federal government," says Minister of International Trade Teresa Wat.
B.C. is a world leader in softwood lumber production and exports, with 80% of industry output sold outside the province.
More than 40% of regional economies across B.C. are dependent on forestry, and in 2013, B.C. exported $5.3 billion in softwood lumber exports.
The funding is being provided to eight industry trade associations that operate market development programs in Asia, the United States, and other major markets, including Europe. Market development support is also being provided by the federal government, through Natural Resources Canada, and by industry.
Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson says building and maintaining international markets helps keep mills across B.C. open and protect the tens of thousands of jobs that depend on the forest economy. "The provincial funding we are announcing will help maintain B.C.'s leadership position in major markets around the world."
British Columbia's contribution is being distributed through Forestry Innovation Investment (FII), the province's market development agency for forest products. FII also manages the Wood First program, which fosters the innovative use of wood and wood building systems in British Columbia, and other programs that promote the many environmental benefits of B.C. forest products.
The B.C. funding announcement was made jointly by Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson, attending the Council of Forest Industries annual meeting in Kelowna, and by Minister of International Trade Teresa Wat, the minister responsible for FII.
Building global markets for B.C. wood products is a central part of the BC Jobs Plan, the government's strategy for spurring economic activity and job creation throughout the province.
Collaboration with industry and the federal government in the delivery of international marketing programs has been a successful model for B.C. Since the government and industry set up a joint program in 2003 to target the Chinese market, B.C. softwood lumber exports to China have increased by close to 2,000 per cent, totalling $1.4 billion in 2013.
Through the joint delivery model, provincial funding of $6.1 million will be leveraged with additional contributions from industry and the federal
"British Columbia leads the world in supplying softwood lumber products, a position that has been achieved through the hard work of the industry with the strong support of the B.C. government and the Government of Canada," says Council of Forest Industries president and CEO James Gorman. These funds will help keep the current rebound in forest markets going through 2014 and beyond."
Learn more about the BC Jobs Plan here >>