12 May 2017
Canada Completes Successful Forest Industry Trade Mission to Mainland China
Canadian International Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne recently led a successful six-day forest industry trade mission to mainland China. The Canadian delegation included industry representatives from the Quebec, New Brunswick and British Columbia lumber sector as well as industry group Canada Wood, Export Development Canada and the Canadian Commercial Corporation.
According to a press release issued by the Canadian government, mainland Chinese wood product importers in Shanghai expressed their eagerness for greater government-to-government co-operation to facilitate their growing demand for Canada’s versatile and eco-friendly softwood lumber. In Chongqing, the trade minister participated in a softwood lumber workshop, engaging with builders, developers and architects in southwest mainland China about ways to increase the presence of wood-frame housing and grow Canadian wood exports to the region. He also met with municipal leaders and stakeholders driving education and innovation partnerships between Canada and mainland China’s southwestern region, including prominent francophiles such as the dean of Sichuan International Studies University and exchange students bound for HEC Montreal.
During his stop in Zhengzhou, Minister Champagne attended the 2017 China Green Companies Summit and reiterated the shared commitment of Canada and mainland China to double trade by 2025. He also met with the executive chairman of Alibaba Group, who launched the “Canada Pavilion” featuring Canadian products and services on the world’s largest e-commerce shopping site in September 2016. Meetings were also held with members of the influential China Entrepreneur Club, including substantial buyers of wood products. Minister Champagne finished his trip in Beijing, where he discussed efforts to expand the bi-lateral trade and investment relationship with mainland China’s Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan.
Canada is in the early stages of exploratory discussions with mainland China to determine whether there is sufficient interest and economic benefits to pursue formal negotiations on a bi-lateral free trade agreement. The Canadian government is also undergoing consultations to ask Canadians for input in defining Canada’s interests in a possible FTA with the mainland.