A mix of 250 importers, distributors, builders, developers, designers and architects were on hand as Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Minister Steve Thomson welcomed delegates to the second-annual Sino-Canada Wood Conference in Shanghai.
The conference, with its theme of “Wood products for a greener future”, featured speakers discussing topics that include China’s forest policies, wood supply outlook and competitive landscape, how Canada is positioned to meet China’s demand for wood products, industrialization of wood construction and how sustainable wood products provide an environmentally friendly option for building demands, including for mid-rise and tall wood projects.
Some of the 2016 Forestry Asia Trade Mission delegates participated in an industry panel on topics affecting the Chinese wood industry. The panel was moderated by Council of Forest Industries president and CEO Susan Yurkovich.
Among those in attendance at the conference were 50 professors and students involved in the first annual Chinese University Timber Structure Competition for which Thomson presented the top prize. The competition challenges architecture and engineering students from timber design courses at eight Chinese universities to apply their knowledge in a hands-on wood design project. The projects encourage students to continue pursuing an interest in wood design and to translate it into a career to help fill China’s deficit of qualified wood designers.
This year’s competition was co-organized by Tongji University and Canada Wood China. The eight-week Timber Engineering Course at Tongji University is taught to senior engineering students. The University of British Columbia, led by Professor Frank Lam, was instrumental in helping with the creation of the course, including training of the Chinese professors involved and with participation in teaching. Approximately 80 students registered for the course in its first year in 2003 and it has since grown to more than 400 students annually, making it one of the largest timber engineering courses in the world.
Conference partners and supporters include the Shanghai Ministry of Housing Urban-Rural Development, the Shanghai Wood Industry Association, the China Timber & Wood Products Distribution Association, the China National Furniture Association and the Canadian Embassy.
Trade missions are an important part of British Columbia’s international engagement strategy to support economic growth in priority sectors as well as BC Jobs Plan objectives. Maintaining and expanding markets, including strengthening key Asian markets, supports the Province’s goal of a diverse, globally competitive forest industry, outlined in Strong Past, Bright Future: A Competiveness Agenda for B.C.’s Forest Sector.
Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations –
“The Canadian wood industry is committed to China, values China as a business partner and expects to further strengthen this partnership. It is great to be part of the first annual Chinese University Timber Structures Design Competition. China’s wood construction industry is experiencing rapid development and it is critical to work with Chinese universities to develop wood design courses that help fill an existing void by supplying next generation wood engineers and designers.”
Susan Yurkovich, president and CEO of Council of Forest Industries –
“The Sino-Canadian Wood Conference provides an opportunity for B.C. forest industry executives to hear directly from our Chinese customers about their business and competitive environment. This information will help us as we continue to grow the market for B.C. wood products in China and to explore and enter new market segments.”
- Participants from the Chinese University Timber Structures Design Competition come from eight universities: Tongji University, Tsinghua University, South East University, Nanjing Tech University, Nanjing Forestry University, Chongqing University, Harbin Institute of Technology and Xi’an University of Architecture and Technology.
- The University of British Columbia participated in the design competition by collaborating with South East University.
- There are a total of 21 teams. Each competition team has three-to-five students led by one professor. The teams are required to have senior undergraduate students and/or postgraduates from both schools of architecture and engineering.
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BC Jobs Plan: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan
Strong Past, Bright Future: A Competitiveness Agenda for British Columbia’s Forest Sector can be found at: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/forestry/competitive-forest-industry