British Columbia's Coast Forest Products Assn. says forest industry could be 'poster child' for province's Jobs Plan, as expansion in exports to Asia continues

VANCOUVER, B.C. , September 23, 2011 (press release) – The BC coastal forest industry says the forest sector could be the poster child for the action necessary to create jobs set out in The BC Jobs Plan, announced by Premier Clark today.

"The first pillar of the plan focuses on expanding markets for BC products, particularly in Asia," says Rick Jeffery, President and CEO of Coast Forest Products Association. "For more than a decade the BC forest industry and the provincial government have been working together in partnership to expand offshore markets, and China is a stellar example of our success."

With a funding formula for offshore market diversification that designates the provincial government and industry as contributing partners, the return on investment in China is impressive. The coastal industry credits this partnership with being one of the principal factors in moving China from BC's twelfth to its second largest export market by volume after the US.

"Today, China is not only the world's fastest growing economy, but thanks in a large part to the strategic efforts of these forest sector partnerships, China is also BC's fastest growing market for wood products," says Jeffery.

The coastal forest industry has seen triple digit growth in China and repatriation of market share in Japan. Over 25 mills have restarted across the province, including three mills on the coast, plus they're running extra shifts. These new market opportunities are providing family supporting jobs in the woods and the mills and economic activity in our communities.

"If Premier Clark wants to send a message to the world, that British Columbia is open for business, a great trading partner and a good place to invest – she need only look as far as the forest sector as a model for success," says Jeffery. "Success in China was achieved by government and industry working together with a focussed and coordinated approach, combined with a strong sustained presence in the market."

Government's commitment to provide $24 million to the resource ministries to ensure that permit approvals are not the bottleneck for economic and job development is a step in the right direction. In addition, recognizing the need for government to stay out of business's way and ensure it's creating the environment for private sector job creation is a tried-and-true policy approach that delivers results. According to Jeffery, Premier Clark's Jobs Plan provides the foundation to drive results for BC's export industries and provide family supporting jobs.

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