Canadian and provincial government representatives and delegates from the Canadian forest sector met today with China’s State Forestry Administration and Chinese industry officials to advance discussion around sustainable forest management practices during the China-Canada Roundtable on Illegal Logging in Beijing.
Organized jointly by Natural Resources Canada and China’s State Forestry Administration, the roundtable was officially opened by Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson as part of the 2016 Asia Trade Mission. During the roundtable, the Canadian delegation made presentations regarding Canadian government policy on combating illegal logging and its trade, Canadian industry practices to ensure sustainability, legality and traceability, and forest governance across Canadian jurisdictions. Thomson’s remarks to start the conference specifically noted British Columbia’s track record for producing legal and sustainable forest products.
In addition to the Chinese industry’s view and actions on responsible forest product trade, the Chinese delegation provided a summary and expected outcomes of recent policies announced by the central government, encouraging the use of wood in construction. They also provided context for how these policies align with the Chinese government’s top priorities of reducing carbon emissions, tackling climate change, and resource and energy conservation.
Representatives from non-governmental organizations in attendance gave presentations on their support for China in its efforts to promote legal trade and to combat illegal logging and its trade.
Canada is the world leader in sustainable forest certification, with more than 40% of the world’s third-party certified forests equal to 166 million hectares certified to one of three international standards. British Columbia alone has 52 million hectares certified to internationally recognized sustainable forest management standards, more than any other jurisdiction in the world apart from Canada as a whole.
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.
Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources –
“Canada is proud of its global reputation as a supplier of forest products from sustainable and legal sources. Consumers of Canadian wood products can be confident that the wood they are buying was sourced legally and harvested under a system of responsible and sustainable forest management.”
Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations –
“The Province of British Columbia values and appreciates our customers’ attention to the legality and sustainability of forest products imports. Both our customers and B.C. share the view that these matters are globally significant.”
- Canada’s forests cover 347 million hectares, representing 9% of the world’s forest cover.
- Less than half of 1% of Canada’s forest is harvested each year and harvested areas must be promptly regenerated.
- The three internationally recognized standards for sustainable forest certification are the Canadian Standards Association (the official national standard of Canada), the Forest Stewardship Council and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.
Five ways Canada prevents illegal logging: http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/forests/canada/laws/17479
China State Forestry Administration: http://english.forestry.gov.cn
Follow the Forestry Asia Trade Mission updates online: http://news.gov.bc.ca/stories/2016-forestry-trade-mission-to-asia
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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