VICTORIA - Efforts to expand export markets for B.C. lumber took a major step forward last night with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding designed to increase the use of wood-frame construction in China.
Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson and Tan Yueming, Minister of Housing and Urban Rural Development in China’s Zhejiang province, took part in the official signing ceremony via videoconference.
The ceremony follows through on a commitment the two governments made last fall during Thomson’s trade mission to China. The Province of Zhejiang had expressed interest in developing wood-frame construction expertise in its growing tourism sector and other applications. In China, memoranda of understanding are the first step toward increasing commercial activity.
The MOU calls on the two governments to promote the use of environmentally friendly low-carbon, wood-frame construction, develop wood-frame construction codes and standards for application in China, and organize exchange visits for government and representatives to share technical and experience and knowledge.
B.C. will also increase co-operation with Zhejiang on wood-frame construction research, with a specific focus on local construction needs in Zhejiang province, including government-funded public building projects and home renovations.
In 2013, B.C. exported a record $1.4 billion worth of lumber to China, up from $1.1 billion in 2012. Zhejiang in China’s tenth largest province (by population). The MOU will remain in effect for the next five years.
Steve Thomson, B.C. Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations -
“This agreement is an important step in our unique and growing relationship with China, one that I’m sure will continue to provide mutual benefits and prosperity for many years to come.”
Tan Yueming, Zhejiang Minister of Housing and Urban Rural Development -
“We welcome this agreement and look forward to sharing experience and knowledge with our Canadian friends. This MOU will move forward wood-frame construction technology and promote green building and energy efficient construction developments in Zhejiang.”
- Zhejiang Province is a wealthy province located in the Yangtze Delta region. Its GDP is the fourth-highest in China at over US$600 billion.
- By 2020, Zhejiang plans to have more than 40 million people residing in its cities.
- Zhejiang is well-known in China for its rolling hills and rivers and lakes. The province wants to pursue sustainable development to maintain its reputation as an eco-friendly tourism destination.
- Wood-frame construction is a relatively new but growing technology in China. For example, use of the technology in China’s growing resort construction sector was almost non-existent five years ago.
BC Jobs Plan: www.bcjobsplan.ca
Building our Natural Advantage: Forest Sector Strategy for British Columbia: www.for.gov.bc.ca/mof/forestsectorstrategy/
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations