China is on the verge of taking up the slack in demand for British Columbia’s timber, according to the Council of Forest Industies (COFI).

COFI, which is being backed by federal government money for its China campaign, believes the Asian country with a population of 1.3 billion is an important, developing market at a time when British Columbia’s traditional trade with the US is reeling from heavy duties on softwood lumber.

COFI is helping the Chinese with technology transfer and skills training in wood construction and hopes they will be attracted by the speed of building timber homes, plus their energy efficiency.

The British Columbia government recently held a forum largely to promote a joint industry-government bid to woo the Chinese over to Canadian softwood.

Last year Canada sent 39 million board ft of lumber to China.