The province of British Columbia has set a new record that many believed to be unattainable. With lumber export sales of 4.28 billion board feet as of November, exports to China have already surpassed the province’s 2008 goal of exporting four billion board feet in 2011.
Last year’s export sales to China, with December still to report, are already up 74% from 2010 and 200% from 2009. Sales to China, now with a value of more than $1 billion, make up about 29% of all B.C. lumber exports. Only the U.S., at 42% of exports, is a larger market.
When the province challenged the industry in 2008 to work collaboratively with government to increase export sales, B.C. was shipping about 700 million board feet of lumber to China. The three-way market development program between the province, federal government and industry targeting China and other growth markets for B.C. forest products is paying off. Since 2003, when the program started in China, B.C. sales have surged over 1,300% and more than tripled in the last two years.
While critics have suggested the approach wouldn’t work, the proof is in the numbers. The province is now taking this winning strategy for lumber and applying it to how we market and grow other sectors under ‘Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan’.
“Over the last decade, the return on investment has been obvious and staggering for our province, and we thank government for their founding presence and continued investment from 2003 to today. As we make the transition to wood frame construction in China, the potential for continued growth is tremendous,” commented Don Kayne, CEO of Canfor Corporation.