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Natural Resources Canada
November 7, 2011

Minister Oliver Promotes Modern Canadian Wood-Frame Construction in China

TIANJIN, CHINA — The Honourable Joe Oliver, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, today spoke at a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the completion of the wood-framing stage of the Tianjin Economic Development Area (TEDA) Wood-Frame Demonstration Project.

 “The collaboration between our two countries was essential for the success of this demonstration project, and I would like to acknowledge the great efforts of TEDA and Bin Hai officials toward its realization,” said Minister Oliver. “We are pleased that quality Canadian wood products helped serve the demands of China’s efforts toward a cleaner construction sector. We are looking forward to maintaining our partnership with China and to working together toward more high-quality and energy-efficient buildings.”

Minister Oliver highlighted that Canada played a key role in this milestone project — China’s first four-storey wood-frame structure — by providing its expertise in engineering, architectural design and wood-frame construction. The joint Canada–China project was built using Canadian wood products, an affordable solution to China’s growing housing demands.

The Government of Canada’s $660,000 contribution to this project was funded under the Large-Scale Wood Demonstration Initiative as part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan. Construction of the project is expected to be completed by mid-December of this year.

The demonstration project consists of two wood-frame apartment buildings totalling 6,000 square metres and is located in the Tianjin Economic Development Area, one of China’s most advanced and largest development zones. The wood-frame buildings showcase the low-carbon, environmentally friendly and energy-efficient properties of wood-frame construction.

This project is one of four demonstration projects under the March 2010 agreement signed by Canada, British Columbia and the Chinese Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development to assist China in the application of modern wood-frame technology to build energy-efficient housing.

“British Columbia is well positioned to benefit from the significant urban housing construction goals set out by the Chinese Ministry of Housing and Urban Rural Development,” said Pat Bell, B.C. Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation. “Increasingly, China is recognizing the environmental benefits of wood-frame construction, which translates into more orders for B.C. mills.”  

TEDA is perhaps China’s largest and most advanced development zone. The area spans 81 square kilometres and is in many ways a city within a city. It has a population of nearly 160,000 full-time residents and is home to schools, hospitals, hotels and residential communities.

Chinais now Canada's second-largest trading partner and represents the fastest growing export market for Canadian wood products. Exports of these products to China have grown dramatically, increasing from $32 million in 2001 to over $834 million in 2010, representing a 26-fold increase. Exports to date in 2011 have already exceeded last year’s totals.

Canada’s lumber shipments to China have done particularly well, with exports increasing more than 500 percent since 2007 and year-to-date shipments are about 126 percent ahead of last year’s pace. This increase in exports to China accounts for the equivalent output of 14 sawmills and represents thousands of jobs in Canada. With 20 times more exports to China than 10 years ago, China is by far the most promising emerging market for Canada’s forest sector. 


Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver today toured the Tianjin Economic Development Area (TEDA) Wood-Frame Demonstration Project, China’s first four-storey wood-frame structure. This milestone project is one of four demonstration projects under an agreement signed in March 2010 to assist China in the application of modern wood-frame technology to build energy-efficient housing.

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