A record volume of lumber sales on the most recent B.C. trade mission to China will create nearly 1,000 jobs in the province, according to Forest Minister Pat Bell.
Forestry companies participating in the mission, including Interfor, sold a total of 418 million board-feet of lumber as a result of their visit to China last week, Bell told the Castlegar News in a conference call from the rapidly developing Asian country.
To put that in perspective, he noted that an average large sawmill in the province produces 250 million board-feet of lumber each year.
The China sales “will put literally hundreds of people to work if not close to 1,000 when you count the log-harvesting community,” Bell said.
They also dwarf the volumes of lumber sold in previous trade missions to the country, which Bell pegged at 156 million board-feet last year and just 70 million in 2008, when the first such trade mission took place.
“I think this year was the breakthrough year,” Bell said, adding the sales trend is likely to continue.
The demand for building materials in China continues to grow at “exponential” rates, he noted, and Canadian lumber is poised to increasingly replace concrete and steel as China looks to reduce the staggering environmental impact of its large-scale urbanization.