On April 9 the Government of British Columbia announced that it is investing $6.2 million to support the forest sector in expanding global markets for B.C. wood products. Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson made the announcement on behalf of International Trade Minister Teresa Wat, while attending the Council of Forest Industries annual meeting in Prince George.
“B.C. succeeds when the province has a strong and vibrant forestry sector, and promoting this industry is a key priority for our government. Combining the skills and resources of industry and both levels of government allows us to deliver more comprehensive market development efforts in priority markets in Asia, the U.S. and Europe and generates higher returns on our collective investments,” Wat said.
The funding is being made available to nine industry trade associations that deliver market development programs on behalf of government and industry. Association activities will focus on expanding markets for B.C.’s solid wood products, with investment priorities reflecting evolving market opportunities in Asia, the U.S.A. and Europe. Activities will be delivered on a cost-shared basis, with additional funding provided by industry and the federal government, through Natural Resources Canada.
B.C.’s contribution is being managed through Forestry Innovation Investment (FII), the Province’s market development agency for forest products. FII also administers the Wood First program, which fosters the innovative use of wood and wood building systems in B.C., and other programs that promote the many environmental benefits of B.C. forest products.
“Communities across B.C. continue to rely on the revenues and jobs generated by the forest sector. Through the investments in market development announced today, the province is working to ensure a bright future for the sector and for the communities and people that depend on it,” said Steve Thomson, the provincial Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
Building international markets for B.C.’s natural resources is a central part of the BC Jobs Plan, the government’s strategy for spurring economic activity and job creation throughout the province. More than 60,000 British Columbians throughout the province work directly in the forest sector and its 7,300 companies. The government is committed to supporting these jobs and businesses by partnering with the forest industry to build on its success in Asia and to explore new niches in the recovering U.S. market.
“With this funding, the Council of Forest Industries will continue to promote B.C.’s world-leading forest products to growing economies in Asia including China and South Korea. Our members are already leaders within the global forest products industry, helping to drive the economy of B.C. and the communities in which they operate,” said James Gorman, President and CEO of the Council of Forest Industries.
- B.C. is a world leader in softwood lumber production and exports, with 80% of industry output sold outside the province.
- In 2014, B.C. exported $5.8 billion in softwood lumber exports.