I just received this email from Pat Bell our MLA on his trip to China. Thought you would like to read so here it is re posted in its entirety.
Back from China and Japan in a very successful trade mission. Although it was a very busy 8 days the benefits in both the short and long term are becoming very clear. This trip yielded sales of 156 million board feet of lumber and over $8 million worth of value added products. Combine this with significant events in Shanghai, Beijing and Tokyo as noted below and you can see the future shape of our industry in Asia.
Have a great week!
1. Our first visit was to the China National Building Materials (CNBM) warehouse at the Taicang Port. CNBM is the largest single importer of BC lumber and has grown from a single warehouse last year to 11 different distribution centres this year covering almost ½ of China’s population. We saw wood from all the major BC lumber manufacturers in BC including Canfor, West Fraser, Tolko, Dunkley, and Carrier from our area.
2. We then visited a Taicang remanufacture plant. This plant uses both BC lumber and Russian Logs. I had a chance to speak with the owner of the mill and he said that BC lumber is his preferred choice for quality, consistency and price. He is only holding onto the Russian logs as an option. This plant produces strapping for the Chinese construction industry.
3. I then attended the Shanghai Building Code launch. This is a very exciting initiative that we have been working on for about 4 years and represents the most comprehensive building code for wood frame construction available in China. In the media conference after the launch we were able to answer all of the media questions on the issues of fire, seismic stability and termite infestations, all of which are dealt with in the code.
4. Shanghai Affordable Housing Bureau was next on our agenda where we signed an MOU that will see a demo project built with the bureau. Shanghai will build 330,000 units of affordable housing between now and 2012 and the option of wood construction is now available as a result of this MOU.
5. In our visit to Beijing we travelled to the Warm Wood Villa’s about 70 km outside of Beijing. These are holiday villas of about 800 to 1600 square feet. They sell for between $100,000 and $200,000 and represent great value (BC prices would be $500,000 plus).
6. We also officially opened the Xiang’E school in the Sichuan Province. This school has a sister school in Houston BC (Silverthorne Elementary). Interestingly a significant amount of the wood used to construct the Xiang’E school was produced at the sawmills in Houston. The event celebrated Canada and B.C.’s contributions to building a new school for hundreds of children in one of the areas hardest hit by the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. Xiang’e Primary is one of three buildings funded under the $8-million Canada-British Columbia Wenchuan Earthquake Reconstruction Project.
7. In Beijing I met with “Mr Qui Baoxing” the Vice Minister responsible for the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Construction (MOHURC). This was a very exciting meeting with Mr Qui (pronounced Chew) in that he is the one that makes decisions about when they are built, where they are built and what housing is built of for all of China. Mr Qui is very supportive of wood construction and agreed to work with us on a demonstration project in Beijing where he believes we need to convince young people that “mù cái zhēn hăo” (pronounced moo-tow meow) or “wood is good”. This was a major breakthrough and will yield significant results.
8. After leaving Beijing we traveled to Tokyo and attended the Japan Home Show. We had a significant presence at the show with a combination of primary manufacturers and value added producers doing a combined sales of $8 million.
9. Another major event in Japan was the Sagamihara ground breaking. When completed in 2010, the 6,500-square-metre facility will be the largest 2x4 wood-frame elder care home in Japan. The building will require the same amount of wood needed to build 70 homes. Just like in B.C. with the new building code and Wood First initiative, Japan recently moved to allow larger buildings to be constructed entirely with 2x4 wood-frame construction. This is good news for our forest sector, as B.C. is the number-one supplier of softwood lumber to Japan. There is a shortage of elderly care homes in Japan. An estimated 400,000 seniors are on waiting lists for elderly care facilities. About 7,400 new facilities are required to house this aging demographic. If every single one used wood-frame construction, about 1.15 billion board feet of lumber would be used.
10. Our final major event of the week away was a meeting with Director General Shimada of the Japan Ministry of Forests. DG Shimada had heard of our ‘Wood First” act and was very interested in adopting the act for Japan. In BC this act requires all buildings funded by the Provincial Government to use wood as the primary construction material wherever and whenever possible. DG Shimada had the act translated into Japanese and was looking for advice on how to implement it in Japan.