A new Forestry Innovation Investment (FII) office in Vietnam will help drive trade opportunities and sustainable jobs in B.C.'s forestry sector while offering greater protection from market volatility and other global challenges.
The office is a key first step in developing B.C.'s Trade Diversification Strategy, part of the StrongerBC Economic Plan.
The strategy will allow businesses to connect with more international partners, creating more jobs in B.C. and helping to protect B.C.'s trade network from supply-chain disruption, market instability and geographically specific trends and changes.
"The pandemic and global unrest have shown us the impact these events can have on our economy and trade relationships with global partners," said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation.
"By moving away from over-reliance on a single market, we can grow revenue for sustainable B.C. businesses and jobs and protect British Columbians from global disruptions."
The Trade Diversification Strategy will help increase opportunities to export B.C. products and services, including value-added wood products, and attract foreign investment to support B.C. businesses and workers.
With the majority of forest products destined for export markets, diversification can help protect B.C.'s forestry sector from ups and downs in the global marketplace.
As part of this strategy, the Province is establishing its third international FII office, its first in Vietnam, in the province of Binh Duong. The office will focus on ensuring B.C. is the preferred supplier of sustainable and certified softwood lumber products to Vietnam, which is the world's second-largest exporter of wooden furniture. From 2017 to 2021, B.C. softwood lumber exports to Vietnam increased by 59%.
"Developing a Trade Diversification Strategy will provide more opportunities for B.C. businesses to expand as we build on our strong economic recovery," said George Chow, Minister of State for Trade.
"The opening of our Vietnam office is a crucial step for the growth of our forestry sector and will provide B.C. with an opportunity to highlight our environmental, social, and good governance values, which are among our key competitive advantages."
Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, said:
"Diversifying our export markets and improving our trade networks will help B.C. build a stronger and more resilient forestry sector. This will drive expanded opportunities for jobs, growth and innovation for one of the Province's largest industries in new markets, and will position B.C. to supply the world with sustainable, low-carbon products."
Work to create a dedicated forestry trade office in Vietnam began in 2017, with initial steps focused on product trials and outreach efforts. Recently, Vietnam has increased its emphasis on using certified sustainable sources - a requirement of increasingly more countries and large companies.
Establishing this new FII office puts B.C.͛s forestry sector in a strong position to further expand trade relationships with Vietnam.
Throughout the spring, the Province will continue to engage with businesses as it works to further develop the Trade Diversification Strategy, which is set to be released this summer.
"B.C.'s a leader in providing sustainably produced, low-carbon forest products the world wants, and this announcement will help us reach more customers across the globe who are seeking products that are a better choice for the planet,” said Alexa Young, vice-president, government and public affairs, BC Council of Forest Industries.
“As we collectively work to drive to net-zero and zero waste, we look forward to working in partnership with government, Indigenous Peoples, communities and labour to show the world B.C.'s got the renewable products, the people and the know-how to be part of the solution."
- Canada has more third-party-certified forests than any other country in the world, with B.C. contributing a major portion.
- Vietnam and Canada are both signatories of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), an international trade agreement that reduces barriers to trade.
- Between April 2020 and March 2021, 41 product trials were completed by FII in Vietnam, driving interest in a variety of B.C. wood species.
- B.C.'s western hemlock is one of the most popular product choices in Vietnam and is the most plentiful tree species on the B.C. coast.
- FII has its main headquarters in Vancouver and offices in China, India and now Vietnam.