Chinese lumber demand fueling B.C. industry improvements

B.C.’s lumber production improved by a third in the first half of 2010, as mills reopened or added shifts mainly to meet new Asian demand.

The latest Statistics Canada figures reflect the B.C. industry’s slow recovery in recent months, but the 33 per cent increase from the same period last year is better than expected, Forests Minister Pat Bell says.

Perhaps the surest sign the B.C. industry is on the mend is another trade complaint from the U.S. government. While B.C.’s recovery is led by Chinese lumber demand, shipments to the United States were also up 16 per cent. Last Friday the U.S. government asked for arbitration under the 2006 softwood lumber agreement on the price of pine beetle-attacked timber harvested from provincial land.