Forestry

Learn about opportunities to export wood products and services from British Columbia, Canada to key international markets at Trade and Invest British Columbia.

British Columbia is a world leader in supplying high-quality, environmentally responsible forest products including wood lumber, pulp and other forestry products. B.C. forest products contribute significantly to Canada's exports. We are developing new markets for innovative products such as biofuels and engineered building materials, and for related services, including building design and forest management. 

Watch this short video on British Columbia’s Forestry advantages.

Key Markets

The United States has a long history of buying forest products from British Columbia. In recent years, other global markets have become increasingly important. There is demand for both traditional commodity products from our large integrated producers as well as value-added products from small and medium-sized firms.

Softwood Lumber Exports

British Columbia is the world’s largest exporter of softwood lumber, and our forestry sector has well-established connections to major markets in the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, and Europe.
 

United States

Overall, the United States remains the most important wood product export destination for British Columbia, accounting for 49.4 per cent of exports in 2013, worth almost $3.8 billion of exports. Sales of softwood lumber to the United States increased to the United States in 2013, to 13.6 million m3. The United States is a global leader in green technologies and the clean economy, with significant growth opportunities for B.C. companies in green building, among other areas.

Learn more about British Columbia’s export opportunities in the United States.

 

China

British Columbia is a leading market player in China, where demand for wood products is growing, and long-term growth is expected in wood-frame construction of apartments and commercial buildings. In 2010, we became China’s largest supplier of softwood lumber, with 48.7 per cent of softwood lumber imports. Our softwood lumber exports to China continue to grow, reaching nearly $1.4 billion in 2013. China now accounts for 26.1 per cent of our total volume of exports of softwood lumber.

China is expected to remain the fastest-growing producer and importer of softwood lumber in the world in the coming years. Different provinces within China have different needs and markets. For example, wood frame and landscape wood are the main focus in Guangdong, while log trading is prominent in Fujian Province.

British Columbia companies supply wood architectural services and wood frame housing in China. The vast majority of our lumber exports to China are for non-structural lumber in concrete forming, as well as for outfitting and renovating housing. The Chinese government plans to build 36 million affordable housing units by 2015. Construction creates an ongoing market for wood building systems and for structural and appearance grade products, in particular from larger developers and builders. As these builders embrace the benefits of wood frame construction, they encourage other Chinese companies to use wood construction materials, and continue to expand the potential market.

Learn more about British Columbia’s export opportunities in China.
 

Japan

In 2013, British Columbia exported $825 million in softwood lumber products to Japan, representing 16 per cent of our overall softwood lumber exports to Japan and an increase of $293 million over 2009.

Demand for wood remains steady, and is predicted to increase as a result of reconstruction following the devastating earthquake and tsunami in early 2011. As rebuilding continues, demand in affected regions will rise for panel and lumber products.

Housing starts have also been growing following a record low in 2009, and wood construction increased to a new high of 56.6 per cent of total housing starts in 2010. Engineered wood products continue to be a priority in the Japanese market, and work to encourage Wood First policies for the Japanese construction industry will expand the market further.

Niche opportunities exist in elder care facilities, post-and-beam construction, 2×4 wood-frame construction, special purpose non-residential buildings, and value-added products. Our value-added producers continue to build market share with innovative architectural and interior products.

Japan has long been a key market for cedar and hemlock, and demand is likely to grow as work on revising building and fire codes allows the use of these species.

Wood pellets are a growing market as Japan shifts its energy mix away from nuclear power and toward a newly created feed-in-tariff program. Opportunities exist to increase wood pellet exports to Japan. The move to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Japan will provide export opportunities for our wood pellet producers as wood fibre is used to reduce the carbon footprint of power-generating facilities in Japan.

Learn more about British Columbia’s export opportunities in Japan.

 

South Korea

South Korea remains highly dependent on wood product imports as over 90 per cent of wood products consumed are imported. 

Overall, home construction remains at a lower level than in recent years, but starts of single-family homes (where wood-frame construction is most established) have increased every year since 2008. However, multi-family residential construction is an opportunity for exporters if stringent fire and sound insulation requirements can be met.

Environmental concerns continue to influence South Korean consumers as the government works to address carbon footprint and “sick house” syndrome from non-wood construction methods, which dominate city developments. This creates a market opportunity as we position wood frame construction as a sustainable healthy alternative to other building materials and leverage Korean preferences for wood in their traditional home design.

The Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement, which entered into force in early 2015, has eliminated tariffs on 57 per cent of forest products, creating opportunities for British Columbia wood producers in this resource-poor market, with further tariff reductions expected over a ten-year period.

The 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games present a further opportunity for our green building industry to share its expertise and supply South Korea with sustainable design solutions, sustainable wood products, new technologies, and related services.

Learn more about British Columbia’s export opportunities in South Korea.

 

Europe

For Canadian wood exporters, the EU represents an important export market worth USD $12.5 trillion in 2012. Canada is the seventh largest extra-European supplier of wood products to the EU, but in recent years, it has been growing a reputation as the primary supplier of renewable fuel wood, in particular sawdust waste or wood pellets. France, Italy, UK, Germany, and Netherlands are the major importers of Canadian wood products.

The EU demand for wood pellets has increased significantly in recent years. The EU imported renewable wood fuel worth USD $837 million in 2011, USD $263 million from Canada alone, with 54 per cent of Canada's exports coming from British Columbia. Green energy policies in the EU encourage utilities to use more renewable sources of energy, and this has resulted in an increased demand for renewable wood fuel. This niche market represents a significant opportunity for exporters. With our production capacity of about 1.7 million tonnes per year, the majority of exports already go to Europe.

Learn more about British Columbia’s export opportunities in Europe.

 

India

British Columbia softwood exports to India have grown quickly in recent years, from 12 million m3 in 2010 to 48 million in 2013

In early 2011, India amended its plant-health import controls to permit Canadian SPF (spruce, pine, fir) and western red cedar products, creating a new potential market for exporters.

An emerging but fast-growing market for western-style products has created new niche opportunities. Softwood lumber can displace hardwoods in specific applications, and Coastal and Interior species can be used as alternatives to radiata pine in remanufacturing.

Learn more about British Columbia’s export opportunities in India.
 

Southeast Asia

Although countries in Southeast Asia are significant forest products manufacturers, opportunities exist in specific markets, both for our advanced forest technologies and services and for a variety of forest products. Throughout the region, consumption of wood products is growing for construction and for furniture manufacturing.  Vietnam’s furniture industry is the region’s largest importer of softwood lumber. Like the Philippines, its own forests no longer produce sufficient lumber for its manufacturing industries.

Singapore and some other regions offer niche opportunities for softwood in high value-added building products, such as windows, mouldings and floors. Also, with the growing satellite and suburban cities in the region, demand has increased for three- to six-story multi-family residences and hotel construction, where glue-laminated structural products can meet niche interests.

British Columbia's reputation for high-quality wood products that can be re-used and recycled offers an advantage against competing low-cost softwood producers.

Learn more about British Columbia's export opportunities in Southeast Asia.


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