Four European wood promotion organisations have joined together in a €600,000 initiative to promote wood in Japan and China.

The new European Wood Initiative is made up of the Nordic Timber Council, proHolz Austria, the German Timber Promotion Fund and FrenchTimber.

Jan Söderlind, managing director at the Nordic Timber Council and chairman of the new steering committee, said the initiative was of great importance to the entire European wood working industry.

And Georg Binder, managing director at proHolz Austria said: “It’s a breakthrough that the major timber companies in Europe are working together in close co-operation like this, showing only one face and speaking with one voice to the new promising markets in the Far East.”

As well as increasing the use of wood as a building material in Japan and China, the European group will have to tackle obstacles in standards and laws.

Project manager Inge-Bo Asplund said: “The aim now is to revive Chinese building traditions with the help of modern European wood technologies and show how these technologies can satisfy the growing demands of China. And we shouldn’t forget that there is also an increasingly strong demand for wood in interiors.”

A generic wood promotion campaign will be carried out in Japan and a European Wood Day will be held in Tokyo in September.

Mr Söderlind said the initiative would also benefit smaller companies in Europe which would never export one board to China as the potential demand from the new markets would relieve pressure on the home markets enabling them to profit from better economical conditions.