The B.C. government has opened its first trade office in Vietnam, focused on expanding wood product exports to Asia.
Forestry Innovation Investment, a Crown agency of the provincial government, is headquartered in Vancouver and has trade offices in China and India to promote trade. Opening an office in the Vietnamese province of Binh Duong is aimed at promoting B.C.’s sustainable and certified softwood lumber to a country that is the world’s third largest producer of wood furniture, Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon said Wednesday.
Forest Innovation Investment has completed 41 product trials in Vietnam from April 2020 to March 2021, and B.C.’s western hemlock, the most plentiful tree species on the B.C. coast, is one of the more popular offerings, the ministry says. Asked if exports to Vietnam would be in the form of logs or lumber, Kahlon said the trade office is working with producers and buyers on what can be shipped.
“We certainly are going to be adding value before sending products to Vietnam,” Kahlon said April 20.
“As the second-largest exporter of wooden furniture in the world, Vietnam provides a great opportunity,” Michael Loseth, CEO of Forest Innovation Investment, said. “This is a strategic time to establish a presence in Southeast Asia and promote sustainable forest products from British Columbia. Vietnam and the region present exciting long-term opportunities for further diversification and growth.”
Alexa Young, vice-president for government and public affairs at the B.C. Council of Forest Industries, said B.C.’s third-party certified forests offer an opportunity to diversify B.C.’s overseas markets as the traditional U.S. market continues to face trade restrictions and tariffs at the border.