The recent visit by the Council of Forest Industries brought out some of the industry’s heaviest hitters, and also the news that U.S. lumber markets continue to bounce back.
It was acknowledged by COFI board chair Nick Arkle that China’s arrival as a lumber customer went a long way to offset the loss of the U.S. market when the American construction industry collapsed at the start of the global recession. Now China is still buying wood and the U.S. market is showing signs of life again.
“We’re never going to walk away from the American market,” said Arkle, a manager with Gorman Brothers Lumber based in Kelowna.
“It’s huge and they have an insatiable thirst for building, when the conditions are right. And they want our lumber.”
Places like Taiwan (Chinese Taipei) and Korea are emerging as potentially strong customers as well, said Doug Routledge, COFI’s vice-president of Forestry and Northern Operations, but he cautioned that “you can do more damage than good” by launching ill-prepared trade missions into emerging markets. “We have to understand the culture and their ways of using wood.”