Japan Trade Mission Seeks New Markets for BC Timber

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British Columbia delegates are about to embark on the first post-COVID-19 forestry trade mission to Japan, seeking to increase business opportunities, meet customers and partners, and encourage increased use of products British Columbia lumber.

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

The five-day mission, which kicks off on Sunday, November 6, 2022, will see Conroy, forest industry representatives, federal and provincial officials, and Indigenous leaders attend events whose primary goals are to build relationships, identify new market opportunities, encourage the use of BC wood products, discuss evolving market opportunities and challenges, and increase awareness of BC’s leadership in manufacturing practices and construction of sustainable and innovative forest products.

Activities will include:

  • visit Tokyo University of the Arts Nail-Laminated Glulam Demonstration Project, which is the first example of an adopted Spruce-Pine-Fir (SPF) Engineered Nail-Laminated Glulam Flooring System commercially in Japan;
  • witness the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Canada Wood and developer Seiwa Corporation on the joint development of a large midply;
  • hosting a client appreciation reception at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo;
  • tour the BC Wood Japan office and tour the Log Road business development, which makes extensive use of western red cedar;
  • visiting Osaka to chat with clients from the Kansai region;
  • meeting with Japanese officials from the Ministry of Lands, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and the Japanese Forestry Agency; and
  • meeting with the co-presidents and the executive director of the Japan 2×4 Home Builders Association.

Organizations around the world are making purchasing decisions that consider environmental and community impacts. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance matters as companies seek long-term success in a rapidly changing marketplace.

British Columbia’s forests are sustainably managed and forestry companies are required to replant harvested areas. The province has also introduced legislative changes to strengthen the role of First Nations in long-term forest planning and decision-making.

Quotation:

Bruce St. John, President, Canada Wood Group –

“Asia is committed to building a net-zero future by recognizing the use of low-carbon building materials. By supporting innovative timber building systems in construction in China, Japan and Korea, Canadian Wood Products exports Canadian low-carbon products and technologies while maintaining the competitiveness of the Canadian forest industry.

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

“These missions are essential to increasing British Columbia’s reputation as the supplier of choice for providing customers around the world with the low-carbon, renewable forest products that people want and need. As key markets, like Japan, increasingly seek building, packaging and other materials that are a better choice for the planet, COFI looks forward to continuing to partner with government, Indigenous nations, workers and communities to show the world what BC’s forest industry is made of. while creating new opportunities for foresters, biologists, data analysts, truckers, plant workers, remanufacturers and many other British Columbians who make this industry great.

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

“The First Nations Forestry Council and British Columbia are working together on a number of forestry projects that recognize First Nations rights and promote reconciliation. The FNFC, along with First Nations leaders, is honored to be part of this mission and to offer our Japanese colleagues a real perspective on the province’s forestry partnership with First Nations. Together, we are forging a new beginning in forestry practices in British Columbia, a new beginning that promises respect and puts First Nations at the forefront of forest policy development.

Fast facts:

  • British Columbia sold forest products to Japan worth $1.6 billion in 2021.
  • The BC forest industry has been shipping lumber to Japan for nearly 100 years, with more than 45 years of market development work in the country led by industry and government.
  • Japan is BC’s largest and oldest Asian market for forest products.

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