Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson, in his role as B.C. forests minister, will lead a delegation of
executives from B.C. forest companies to Japan and China later this month.
"Expanding and diversifying our markets in Asian countries like Japan and China are key to the forest sector's continued recovery and an important part of our BC Jobs Plan," said Thomson.
He'll be joined on the trip by James Gorman, president and CEO of the Council of Forest Industries, Rick Jeffery, president and CEO of the Coast Forest Products Association, Teresa Wat, minister of international trade, and two dozen others.
They will leave Oct. 16 and return on the 26th.
China and Japan are B.C.'s two largest offshore markets for B.C. wood products.
As of July, softwood lumber exports to Japan totalled $472 million - a 28 per cent increase over the same period last year.
In 2012, softwood lumber exports totalled $674 million - an increase of 21 per cent from $532 million in 2009 - the worst year of the global economic recession.
Softwood exports to China as of July were $760 million - a 27 per cent increase.
In 2012, softwood lumber exports to that country
totalled $1.080 billion - a massive increase from
$69 million in 2003.
During the 10-day mission, delegates will meet with key customers and senior government officials.
In Japan, they will return to the Tohoku region to view two public buildings constructed under the
$4.6-million Canada-Tohoku Reconstruction Project. The project was launched in 2011 with funding from the federal, B.C. and Alberta governments and Canadian forest companies.
In China, delegates will discuss expanding the use of B.C. wood products and will visit Zhejiang province, Shanghai and Beijing.
"Our industry and the communities in which we are based have benefited from these important trade missions in the past. Our members are excited to be accompanying the minister to Asia and to further our efforts to expand markets for B.C. wood products," said Gorman.
Jeffery added the mission will allow companies to "strengthen relationships with key customers and promote the advantages of building with B.C. wood products."