Chinese Market Looks to BC Wood

The fastest growing eoncomy on the planet is adopting Canadian standards for wooden home construction. This could be a boost to BC forest industry.

B.C. forestry sees huge potential in China’s house market By Paul Luke B.C.’s forest sector expects to grab a toehold in a potentially huge market when it sends a trade team to China this week.

Council of Forest Industries president Ron MacDonald will lead a 15-person delegation to China this week to sign four memoranda of understanding he hopes will help open China to B.C. wood products.

Premier Gordon Campbell will also be in Shanghai to participate in signing the MOUs, MacDonald said yesterday.

”It’s mind-boggling,” MacDonald said. ”With one of the fastest growing economies in the world and 1.26 billion citizens, China has enormous potential as a new destination for B.C. lumber.”

China currently builds about 10 million housing units a year, a number expected to rise to up to 30 million units by 2010.

But 98 per cent of Chinese residential buildings are made of concrete. Only 500 wood-frame homes have been built annually in a nation that lacked a building code for wood frame construction and technical know-how. That may be about to change. In a breakthrough earlier this year, China invited Canada to develop a wood-frame building code.

COFI developed a strategy for a foundation of building codes and standards to support a program of training for designers, builders and developers, MacDonald said.

The four MOUs will formalize partnerships between Canadian and Chinese groups to get this program under way.

The B.C. team will include senior executives from companies such as Canfor, Weyerhaeuser, West Fraser Timber, Weldwood of Canada and Riverside Forest Products.

Kelowna-based Riverside has just reported fourth-quarter earnings of $3.2 million, compared with a loss of $10.2 million for the same period a year earlier.