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Forestry sector taps into growing wood products demand in Japan

December 7, 2023 at 9:33 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

Representatives from British Columbia’s forestry sector, led by Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests, are embarking on a mission to Japan, showcasing the innovation of B.C. wood products.

The mission will show how Japan can benefit from B.C.’s high-quality materials, from use in low-carbon homes to mass-timber commercial buildings.

“Japan is a long-standing market for B.C. forest products with new opportunities for B.C.’s high-value lumber and manufactured wood products, such as mass timber,” Ralston said. “The demand for wood building material is growing, and the sustainability and innovation in B.C.’s forestry sector makes it globally recognized as one of the best options to choose from.”

The five-day forestry sector mission begins Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023. The B.C. delegation will include representation from the Ministry of Forests, First Nations delegates and forestry-sector representatives from companies big and small, as they travel to Japan to strengthen international relationships, increase market opportunities, meet with customers and partners, and encourage the use of B.C. wood products for Japanese businesses.

While in Japan, mission delegates will:

  • tour Port Plus in Yokohama, an 11-storey mass-timber building that became Japan’s first fully wooden and fire-resistant highrise building in 2022;
  • visit the Tokyo showroom of Mihashi, the largest moulding supplier in Japan, which stocks products from Timber Tile, a forestry company owned by Huu-ay-aht First Nation;
  • host a key customer-appreciation reception to recognize Japanese companies’ leadership in advancing the use of B.C. forest products in Japan;
  • participate in several market session forums to learn more about different Asian markets and discuss global construction and forest industry trends and how B.C. can support Japanese businesses; and
  • Ralston will meet with senior officials from Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism and the Japan Forestry Agency.

The mission is an opportunity to highlight several transformative initiatives taking place in B.C.’s forestry sector, making B.C. products more sustainable and internationally competitive. As part of the changes in B.C. forestry planning, the Province is partnering with First Nations and communities to establish Forest Landscape Plans in order to sustainably manage forests to emphasize forest health, biodiversity and cultural values.

Managing for healthy forests and supporting the growth of higher-value wood manufacturing ensures B.C. will remain a steady, long-term supplier of wood products to the Japanese market.

Quotes:

Terry Teegee, Regional Chief, British Columbia Assembly of First Nations –

“First Nations in B.C. have established significant forestry partnerships in business and governance, not only within Canada but also on a global scale. The association with the Japanese forestry market presents numerous valuable prospects for First Nation forest products and knowledge exchange. Moreover, this collaboration can benefit international commitments, including the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – Articles 20 and 32, and sustainable development goals. First Nations in B.C. hold significant fibre supply and decision-making authorities that can ensure that our wood products maintain high value in the Japanese market.”

Kevin Pankratz, senior vice-president, sales and marketing, Canfor

“Japan is a long-standing, high-value market for B.C. forest products with common commitments to sustainable forest practices and building healthy, resilient communities using Canadian wood products. It’s important for us to be there and to show we are committed to supplying sustainably harvested forest products into the future.”

Quick Facts:

  • Japan is B.C.’s highest-value and oldest market in Asia for forestry products.
  • B.C. sold forestry products valued at $1.45 billion to Japan in 2022.
  • This year marks the 100-year anniversary of B.C.’s timber trade relationship with Japan.

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