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Japan trade mission pursues new markets for B.C. wood

November 4, 2022 at 12:09 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

B.C. delegates are set to embark on the first post-COVID-19 forestry trade mission to Japan, seeking to increase market opportunities, meet with customers and partners, and encourage expanded use of B.C. wood products.

“Japan is a critically important export market for B.C.’s high-quality wood products, and we are excited to engage directly and strengthen relationships with our key customers and trading partners,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests. “Through B.C.’s global leadership and innovation in sustainable forestry and mass timber manufacturing, we have the opportunity to increase exports, given Japan’s focus on green building construction and wood use in public buildings. This will support good, well-paying jobs for people across the province.”

The five-day mission, beginning Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022, will see Conroy, forest industry representatives, federal and provincial officials, and Indigenous leaders attend events with the primary objectives of strengthening relationships, identifying new market opportunities, encouraging the use of B.C. wood products, discussing evolving market opportunities and challenges, and increasing awareness of B.C.’s leadership in sustainable and innovative forest product manufacturing and construction practices.

Activities will include:

  • touring the Tokyo University of the Arts nail-laminated timber demonstration project, which is the first example of an engineered spruce-pine-fir (SPF) nail-laminated timber floor system commercially adopted in Japan;
  • witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Canada Wood and developer Seiwa Corporation on the joint development of tall midply;
  • hosting a customer appreciation reception at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo;
  • visiting the B.C. Wood Japan office and touring the Log Road Commercial Development, which features extensive use of western red cedar;
  • visiting Osaka to talk with customers in the Kansai region;
  • meeting with Japanese officials from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism, and the Japan Forestry Agency; and
  • meeting with the co-chairs and executive director of the Japan 2×4 Home Builders Association.

Around the world, organizations are making purchasing decisions that factor in impacts to the environment and communities. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance is important as businesses look to succeed long term in a fast-changing marketplace.

B.C.’s forests are managed sustainably and forest companies are required to replant areas harvested. The Province also introduced legislative changes to enhance the role of First Nations in long-term forest planning and decision-making.

Quotes:

Bruce St. John, president, Canada Wood Group –

“Asia has made a commitment of building a net-zero future by recognizing the use of low-carbon construction materials. By supporting innovative wood building systems in construction in China, Japan and Korea, Canada Wood is exporting Canadian low-carbon products and technology while maintaining the competitiveness of the Canadian forest industry.”

Linda Coady, president and CEO, Council of Forest Industries (COFI) –

“These missions are critical to growing B.C.’s reputation as the supplier of choice in providing customers around the world with the renewable, low-carbon forest products people want and need. As key markets, like Japan, increasingly seek construction, packaging and other materials that are a better choice for the planet, COFI looks forward to continuing to partner with government, Indigenous Nations, labour and communities to show the world what B.C.’s forest industry is made of, while also creating new opportunities for the foresters, biologists, data analysts, truck drivers, mill workers, re-manufacturers and many more British Columbians who make the sector great.”

Lennard Joe, CEO, First Nations Forestry Council (FNFC) –

“The First Nations Forestry Council and B.C. are working together on a number of projects in forestry that recognize First Nations rights and are promoting reconciliation. FNFC, along with First Nations leadership, is honoured to be part of this mission and to offer our Japanese colleagues a true perspective on the forestry partnership between the Province and First Nations. Together, we are forging a new beginning in forestry practices in B.C., one that promises respect and places First Nations front and centre in forestry policy development.”

Quick Facts:

  • B.C. sold forest products to Japan valued at $1.6 billion in 2021.
  • B.C.’s forest industry has shipped lumber to Japan for nearly 100 years, with more than 45 years of in-country market development work led by industry and government.
  • Japan is B.C.’s highest-value and oldest market in Asia for forestry products.

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