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China's New Building Codes To Help Canada Lumber Exports

China's New Building Codes To Help Canada Lumber Exports

China's Ministry of Construction has approved new inspection codes for wood-frame houses that a lumber trade body representative said Monday might triple Canadian softwood lumber exports to China in 2003.

The new inspection codes put an official seal of approval on wood-frame housing and will help boost the popularity of wood-frame construction among local developers, Assistant Director of the Shanghai office of the Canada Wood Bureau Robin Lu said.

"It's a good thing because it's (a standard) that developers can rely on," Lu told Dow Jones Newswires. "So probably this will increase (Canadian softwood lumber) imports by two to three times."

Canadian softwood exports to China increased an average of 72% on year to 190 cubic meters in 2001.
The bureau is an umbrella organization of 800 Canada-based lumber companies and value-added forest products producers including Weyerhaeuser Canada, a unit of Weyerhaeuser Co. , Canfor Corp. and Slocan Forest Products Ltd.
Approval of the inspection codes is the result of a decade of negotiation by both the official Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the American Paper and Forest Products Association.
Canada prioritized China's emerging softwood construction industry in the face of U.S. antidumping duties averaging 27% slapped on Canadian softwood imports in May.
Although the World Trade Organization ruled last month that the U.S. had to refund about $1 billion in antidumping duties collected through April, due to faulty methodology in calculating preliminary tariffs, the duties have taken a heavy toll on Canada's timber industry.
Softwood imports to the U.S. have plunged an average 25% since the tariffs were imposed and sawmills across the country have laid off thousands of workers.
Lu said that ministry approval for construction design codes for wood-frame housing is expected after November and will provide an additional welcome boost for the Canadian lumber export industry.
Wood-frame construction companies in China also welcomed the approval of the new construction codes.
"Previously it was so difficult to get approval for the construction of wood- frame houses because we had to cooperate with the developer in order to convince the local government to allow construction," said the China Strategy Specialist for U.S-based Tecsun Pacific Inc., Ecko Yu. "Now that we have national standards that won't be a problem."
Yu said Tecsun projected that China's wood-frame housing construction market could increase to 50,000 units annually in 2012 from a total of 500 in 2001.

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