Premier Christy Clark has announced that government is investing $8.4 million to build new markets for B.C. wood products at home and in major markets around the globe, including China and India.
"Diversification means better protection for B.C.'s economy - that's why your government has worked hard to diversify our export markets over the past decade," said Premier Christy Clark. "This approach has paid dividends. During that time, our wood exports to China alone have increased by 3,500 per cent to $1.4 billion in 2012, and become a significant driver of economic activity and job creation here."
"Our Government is pleased to be working in partnership with the Province of British Columbia to grow markets for Canadian wood products and secure jobs in forest dependent communities," said the Honourable Joe Oliver, Canada's Minister for Natural Resources.
"Through the Expanding Market Opportunities Program, we are helping Canada's forest industry expand export opportunities in traditional as well as emerging offshore markets, such as Europe, China, India and the Middle East."
Nine associations, which operate market development programs in China, Japan, South Korea, the United States and other major markets, will receive $6.0 million from the Province for international market development. Those associations include:
- APA - The Engineered Wood Association
- B.C. Shake and Shingle Association
- BC Wood Specialties Group
- Canada Wood Group
- Coast Forest Products Association
- Council of Forest Industries
- Western Red Cedar Lumber Association
- Wood Pellet Association of Canada
- Wood Products Council
"We have to continue building and maintaining our international markets," said Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Steve Thomson. "This is because sales overseas help keep our sawmills open and protect the thousands of jobs that depend on B.C.'s forest economy."
The remaining $2.4 million is for B.C.'s Wood First program, which promotes the use of wood as a preferred building material in mid-rise and non-residential construction, and advances B.C.'s reputation as a global leader in wood innovation.
Funds are being distributed through Forestry Innovation Investment (FII), the Crown agency responsible for developing and diversifying markets for B.C. forest products. Since 2003, FII has been partnering with industry and the federal government to grow the markets for B.C. wood products internationally.
"The partnership between the Province, industry and federal government has been very effective at building a market for B.C. wood in China and other growing economies. It's also a good deal for taxpayers because for every dollar the Province invests, it generates $2.80 of activity through matching dollars," said Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour.
Since 2003, FII has established a major presence in China, with an office in Shanghai. In 2012, FIIopened an office in India to pursue emerging opportunities to export B.C. wood products there.
- B.C. is the world's largest exporter of softwood lumber products, with 80 per cent of industry output sold outside the province.
- More than 40 per cent of regional economies across B.C. are dependent on forestry.
- In 2012, B.C. exported $6.2 billion in wood products, representing about half (54.5 per cent) of total Canadian exports of wood products.
- Currently there are about 200 wood-frame, mid-rise buildings being designed or built throughout B.C.