Mongolia to import B.C. lumber

Mongolian wood frame sector looks towards B.C.

The government of Mongolia plans to build 96 regional government centres from B.C. lumber and Canadian wood technology, Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell announced recently.

"B.C.'s 'Wood First' approach to build more public buildings out of wood is gaining recognition around the world," Bell said. "The government of Mongolia has recognized that B.C. wood products and wood-frame construction are ideally suited to government and institutional buildings and for housing."

Over the past few years B.C. has helped Mongolia adopt its building code for wood- frame construction, train officials and inspectors, and set up a Mongolian wood-frame construction sector.

"Wood-frame construction is energy-efficient, climate-friendly, and well suited to our needs in Mongolia," Prime Minister S├╝khbaataryn Batbold said. "With the support of British Columbia, our government has adopted Canada's wood-frame building code and will be using Canadian wood technology and wood products from British Columbia in new public buildings around Mongolia."

Bell and Batbold commented after the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Mongolia and B.C., through which B.C. will provide technical expertise to assist in the design and supervision of the project. Under the MOU, Mongolia agrees to buy all structural lumber for the centres from B.C. suppliers.

Each centre will use more than 1,000 cubic metres of B.C. wood products and include a school and dormitory, health-care facility, government administration building, and recreation centre. This will equate to approximately 100,000 cubic metres of B.C. wood products over all 96 regional centres.

Asian nations collectively, including Mongolia, are the fastest-growing market for B.C. wood products. Sales to China were up 50 per cent in the first seven months of 2010, while in South Korea, exports were up 30 per cent for the same period of time. B.C. exports about 80 per cent of all lumber produced.

In addition to using wood in new public buildings, Mongolia has an acute need for new energy-efficient, modern housing for a huge part of its population. Industrial and mining development over the next decade is expected to fuel much of Mongolia's redevelopment.

Efforts will continue to position wood products from British Columbia to take advantage of these opportunities.

The MOU is being managed through Forestry Innovation Investment, the Province's marketing agency for forest products. It runs international marketing programs in collaboration with the forest sector and Natural Resources Canada.


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