Coast Forest Products Association and others from the B.C. forest industry returned recently from a successful trade mission to India. Resulting from a partnership between the provincial and federal governments and industry, the delegation was hosted by Forestry Innovation Investment (FII) in association with Natural Resources Canada. The mission heralded an important first step in connecting the B.C. forest industry with potential customers in a growing market of 1.2 billion people.
“We applaud FII and the provincial and federal governments for their collaboration on hosting this trade mission to India,” says Rick Jeffery, President & CEO of Coast Forest Products Association and past Chair of the Canada Wood Group. “Because India is a complex market located on the other side of the globe, delegations such as these are vital because they facilitate huge opportunities for market expansion for our forest products.”
The delegation of 18 representatives met with the Delhi Timber Merchants Association, toured the Nagloi Timber Market as well as local manufacturing companies. They also participated in a business roundtable with the Confederation of Construction Products and Services, a group made up of architects, builders, designers and government officials. In addition, the group participated in the Delhi Wood 2013 trade show which included over 450 exhibitors and over 23,000 visitors. Finally, the Canadian High Commission hosted the delegates at an event that giving them the opportunity to meet directly with high level industry officials and government diplomats. Participating companies estimate that over $5 million worth of new sales were generated as a result of the trade mission: a positive indication that the B.C. forest industry can compete and provide products to this emerging market.
The B.C. government has been spearheading India market outreach efforts on an ongoing basis to seek new export and investment opportunities for B.C. businesses and to create greater awareness of B.C.’s advantages as a trading partner.
“While India is currently one of B.C.’s smaller markets for wood products, we’re confident that with the establishment of an office there we can experience the type of success we had in China, which grew in market share from 6 per cent to over 32 per cent of B.C. forest product exports in a few short years,” said Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson.
“This is one piece of our government’s outreach efforts in India, opening up new opportunities for trade and investment that will create jobs here at home. We identified India as a priority market in the B.C. Jobs Plan, tripled our trade and investment attraction network in strategic locations, and last year our exports there increased 60 per cent compared to 2011,” said Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour Pat Bell.
Jointly located with the new B.C. Government’s new Trade and Investment Office in Mumbai, FII officially launched a new Indian office in December 2012 which provides on the ground assistance for the B.C. and Canadian wood industry.
Coast Forest Products Association represents a modern industry made up of forestry companies that produce logs, lumber and pulp and paper.
Coast Forest member companies are known for their world-leading stewardship practices and focus on sustainability. They represent an innovative, high-tech industry that is creating a growing array of forest and wood products for expanding overseas and domestic markets.
Photo at top: Xvaldes / Dreamstime.com