Canadian International Council

Canadian International Council

September 08, 2009 17:59 ET

Canada Needs New Approach for Its Forestry Industry to Seize Chinese Economic Opportunities

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 8, 2009) - China's rapid economic growth has generated a significant increase in Chinese wood consumption, but Canadian wood producers have not met or captured this demand, states a new paper released today by the Canadian International Council (CIC).

The Development of China's Forestry Sector and the Opportunities for Canada, written by Jason (Guangyu) Wang, suggests a two-pronged approach to assist the Canadian forestry sector in seizing opportunities in China. The paper points out the forestry sectors in China and Canada are largely complementary with China being a forest-poor country with a high demand for wood, while Canada is a forest-rich country with a strong wood-processing sector.

"The first prong should be aimed domestically at improving the competitiveness of Canada's forestry sector, while the other is aimed externally at developing foreign policies that benefit our forestry producers," says Dr. Wang.

Dr. Wang argues that Canada has not grasped this opportunity because of its firm lack of understanding about wood consumption in China, Chinese socio-economic and political infrastructure, and Chinese customer preference. "Canadian producers' low investment and unwillingness to adapt to the unique Chinese market has impaired their success in China," writes the author.

Furthermore, he argues that Canada has to meet the increasing demand in China for urban renovation, outdoor landscaping, customized or personalized interior wood products, such as built-in interior closets, cabinets, wooden furniture, doors and windows, as well as materials for business offices and hotels.

Dr. Wang adds, "In the foreign policy sphere, the Government of Canada can assist the Canadian forestry sector in branding itself internationally as the sustainable source of wood for China's growing demand for certified wood products and push for greater controls to combat the illegal logging trade. The promotion of certified wood internationally will encourage China to import wood from Canada, while at the same time reducing Chinese imports from Russia and Southeast Asia, much of which is illegally logged."

The imports of wood into China have increased 28 per cent annually over the last ten years. At the same time, China has become an incredibly skilled exporter of wood products with their keen eye placed firmly on Canada's own primary export market - the United States. China's furniture industry has emerged almost overnight to capture close to 50 per cent of the U.S. market.

Dr. Wang is a CIC research fellow and a post-doctoral research fellow in the faculty of forestry at the University of British Columbia, where he works on sustainable forest management and international forestry, particularly on China's forest policy and its impact on the global wood supply. He is one of eight fellows chosen by the CIC to contribute new perspectives leading to further debate and discussion in vital areas of Canadian foreign policy. The program's initial areas of focus include: China, border issues, Arctic sovereignty and security and energy.

For more information on The Development of China's Forestry Sector and the Opportunities for Canada or the CIC, please visit:

The Canadian International Council (CIC) is a non-partisan, nationwide council established to strengthen Canada's role in international affairs. With 13 branches nationwide, the CIC seeks to advance research, discussion and debate on international issues by supporting a Canadian foreign policy network that crosses academic disciplines, policy areas, and economic sectors. The CIC features a privately funded fellowship program, supported by a network of issue-specific working groups. Carefully selected CIC fellows focus on important foreign policy issues, working out of universities and research institutions across the country. The CIC was founded in 2007 by Jim Balsillie, co-CEO of RIM (Research In Motion).

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