A recent trade mission highlights new wins for BC wood in one of the world’s fastest growing economies

BC forest industry representatives participated in the first post-pandemic wood products trade mission to India from January 14 to 20, 2023.  Led by BC’s Deputy Minister of Forests, Rick Manwaring, the mission enabled delegates to assess current market opportunities and progress of FII India’s market development program, meet with customers and partners, and encourage expanded use of BC wood products. The itinerary included stops in New Delhi, Hyderabad and Jodhpur.

The delegation met with many Indian companies, manufacturers and builders, and visited finished projects in India using Canadian wood products. The mission showcased the growing use of BC Coastal species in India’s manufacturing sector for wooden furniture, doors, windows and interior finishing applications. In addition, it highlighted opportunities for Interior Spruce, Pine, Fir (S-P-F) and wood building products for light-frame construction in the region.

Mission participants were able to see firsthand the progress that is being made, and its incremental contributions to wider market expansion. They noted a growing interest in Canadian softwood species and wood-frame construction, an emerging shift towards larger scale Indian companies and customers, and the ongoing value the Canadian Wood brand represents in the market.

Since the start of FII India’s market development program in 2014, product trials to introduce BC species have been completed with 189 local Indian manufacturers in 65 cities in Northern, Western and Southern India.  There are also  now 40 regional stockists (wholesalers) that are inventorying and selling BC softwood products in 22 cities in India.

As one of the fastest growing economies in the world, India represents an exciting opportunity for BC’s high quality and sustainable wood products. Constrained domestic wood supply alongside the declining availability of imported wood from traditional sources has resulted in a substantial increase of softwood imports (from 20% in 2010 to 50% in 2021). This presents opportunity for Canadian exporters to introduce higher-value wood species as alternatives to hardwoods—including the wood furniture market valued at more than USD $24.98 billion (2020).