Harper Government Sells World on British Columbia’s World-Class Forestry Sector
Opening new markets and creating new export opportunities for forestry workers and businesses a key part of the Harper government’s focus on jobs, growth and long-term prosperity
September 6, 2013 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, today showcased the best of British Columbia’s high-quality and innovative wood and wood products to buyers and investors from more than 20 countries around the world at the 10th annual Global Buyers Mission and Wood First Forum being held in Whistler. He was joined by John Weston, Member of Parliament for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country.
“Our government is committed to helping the forestry sector succeed abroad and, in turn, to providing workers in British Columbia and across Canada with more jobs and higher wages,” said Minister Fast. “With over 40 percent of all Canadian wood products destined for international export, promoting our world-class wood products to key markets around the world is critical to the forestry industry and to our economy.”
The forestry industry is a significant driver of the Canadian economy, employing some 235,000 Canadians and contributing over $20 billion to Canada’s GDP last year.
Achieving preferential access to new and existing markets for forestry products is a key goal of the Government of Canada’s trade expansion plan, and the strategy is delivering real results for forestry workers and their families. In January 2012, the Harper government and the Obama administration signed a two-year extension to the 2006 Canada-United States Softwood Lumber Agreement. The agreement has provided the predictability and stability that Canadian companies require to focus their efforts on developing new markets in Asia and around the world.
This past July, Canada welcomed an agreement to export Canadian eastern-spruce products to India, which will create jobs and contribute to long-term prosperity in communities where workers and their families rely on the sector for their livelihood.
“Wherever I travel throughout the world, I highlight Canada’s world-class forestry industry as a priority sector in our government’s broad and ambitious pro-trade plan to open new markets,” said Minister Fast. “Over the past five years, our efforts to open new markets for forestry products have resulted in a 10-fold increase in softwood lumber exports to China and a 38-percent increase in such exports to South Korea. We’ll continue to work hard to secure new export opportunities for Canada’s world-class wood and wood products so we can share this country’s expertise with the world.”
“The Government of Canada is an important partner for our companies whenever they look outside our borders,” said Brian Hawrysh, CEO of BC Wood Specialties Group and host of the Global Buyers Mission and Wood First Forum. “From helping to establish predictable global trading rules and opening new markets to providing advice on opportunities in specific countries, the Government of Canada is helping us succeed abroad.”
Government of Canada investment is helping forestry product companies tap into new opportunities abroad. Last year’s Economic Action Plan provided $105 million for expanding market opportunities and forestry innovation. This year, Economic Action Plan 2013 provided an additional $92 million over two more years. The Harper government is also investing $127 million over four years in the Forest Innovation Program, which focuses on developing and commercializing new, high-value products and innovation processes.
The Global Buyers Mission and Wood First Forum is considered one of the premier events in Canada for wood products manufacturers interested in expanding their export market opportunities and developing new business relationships.
A backgrounder follows.
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For further information, media representatives may contact:
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade
Backgrounder - Diversifying Exports of Wood and Wood Products
Canadian innovation and expertise in the wood and wood products sector is world-renowned. More than 40 percent of all Canadian wood products destined for international export, and Economic Action Plan 2013 is taking an integrated approach to diversifying and expanding market opportunities for the Canadian forestry sector beyond traditional markets.
The Government of Canada’s efforts to move from exporting to traditional markets—from the United States and Western Europe to China and India, for example—is already yielding results. China, which imports 10 times more softwood from Canada than five years ago, is among the fastest-growing markets for Canadian wood products. Canada is now the largest supplier of softwood lumber in the world to China. In addition, the value of Canadian exports of wood and wood products to India has tripled over the past five years.
Top 20 export destinations of wood and products in 2012 (in millions of dollars)
United Arab Emirates:
Government of Canada’s Integrated Approach
The Government of Canada’s integrated approach brings together a full mix of policy tools, trade promotion and funding programs, including:
- The negotiation of government-to-government trade agreements and free trade agreements (FTAs). The Canada-Jordan Free Trade Agreement (implemented in October 2012) eliminates tariffs (which ranged up to 30 percent) on most of Canada’s forestry products exports to Jordan. Ongoing FTA negotiations, including the Canada-European Union comprehensive economic and trade agreement, the comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) Canada is negotiating with India and Canada’s negotiations toward an FTA with Japan, all aim to increase market access, reduce tariffs and other barriers to trade for the forestry industry.
- The two-year extension of the 2006 Canada-United States Softwood Lumber Agreement provides the predictability and stability required by Canadian forestry companies to focus their efforts on developing new markets in Asia and around the world.
- Natural Resources Canada’s funding programs include the Expanding Market Opportunities Program, which was announced under Economic Action Plan 2010 and provided $105 million over two years to support Canada’s forestry sector. The funding targeted fostering innovation and expanding market opportunities for the sector. Additional funding of $92 million, over two years, was announced in Budget 2013 to further support market diversification and forestry-sector innovation.
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