May 13, 2010
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Forest products companies, sawmills and value-added wood producers in the province hope to cash in on new housing and construction business in some of the world's largest cities through a mission to China led by Business New Brunswick on May 15-23.
"Recent changes to building codes in Shanghai have opened potential markets for New Brunswick companies offering products and services in the area of wood-frame housing construction," said Business New Brunswick Minister Victor Boudreau. "China's municipal governments are replacing their aging cement-based public housing with larger, more modern wood-frame apartments.
"In addition, China's fast-growing middle class has a growing appetite for detached, western-style homes. We believe New Brunswick companies can provide wood product solutions for all phases of these construction projects."
Business New Brunswick staff will accompany representatives of the New Brunswick Forest Products Association (NBFPA), the Maritime Lumber Bureau and Cambium Cabinets on the eight-day mission. The group will meet potential clients and trade representatives in Shanghai before travelling to one of the world's largest wood products trade show in the city of Linyi.
The Trade Assistance Program, administered by Business New Brunswick, will help offset some of the travel costs.
NBFPA president and chief executive officer Mark Arsenault represents about 30 companies that produce lumber, value-added wood and pulp and paper products.
"We are very eager to find new clients for our products and are excited about the potential to create a new trade route between Atlantic Canada and China," said Arsenault. "With the market slowdown in the United States, it is more important than ever for us to diversify our customer base. We are going to investigate what sorts of products are in demand, so we can report back to our members."
This wood-focused trade mission comes just a few months after a multi-sector mission to China in late January, which involved 12 companies in a variety of fields, including post-secondary education, value-added wood manufacturing, water treatment and organic compost.
In 2009, China emerged as New Brunswick's third-largest market, with more than $117 million in exports shipped that year, including nearly $88 million in zinc, $11 million in pulp products and $8 million in seafood products. This represented an increase of more than $80 million in exports to China compared to 2006.
"We understand the importance of China as a critical export market for New Brunswick companies," said Boudreau. "We are proud to support the efforts of these companies as they establish new connections and build on existing business relationships. By bringing New Brunswick wood products to the global marketplace, we can build more value into our products and services and move further along on the road to self-sufficiency."
MEDIA CONTACT: Ashley Bursey, communications, Business New Brunswick, 506-461-0942, email@example.com.