Forest industry leaders from across the province are set to depart for Asia on a trade mission to build the Chinese and Japanese markets.

“China and Japan are both important markets for BC forest products.” Council of Forest Industries President Susan Yurkovich said “Japan has been a market that has been in place for a long time since the 70s and we have made great inroads into the Chinese market in the last number of years.”

Yurkovich says they will be spending their time meeting with government officials and industry leaders. They will also tour wood construction and manufacturing facilities and attend the opening of the new BC Wood office and showroom in Japan.

“We need to make sure that there is an understanding of the abilities of wood products and the new applications so we’ve done a lot of work to showcase what wood can do in construction.” Yurkovich added

This years trip carries extra significance seeing as the 2006 Canada – USA Softwood Lumber Agreement has lapsed. The BC forest industry is enjoying a one year grace period of free trade, in which the Americans have promised to hold off on trade action.

However, that window will close on October 12th 2016, and discussions to get a new agreement in place have been slow to get started.

“Things have changed quite significantly since the time that the 2006 agreement was signed.” Yurkovich said “In particular we have moved from around 300,000 board feet into China to about 3 billion board feet a year.”

The delegation made up of over 30 senior executives and government officials will depart November 27th.