Facing trade uncertainty with the US, Forests, Land and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson and more than 25 seniors forestry industry leaders are overseas promoting Canada’s softwood lumber.

Thomson and team are making stops in both China and Japan. The two respectively received 21% and 13% of BC’s softwood lumber exports last year, totaling $1.9 billion.

Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond says strengthening relationships in foreign markets is crucial.

“It grows the economy, it creates jobs, and in fact, in the forest industry, we’ve seen that our work in China actually helped us retain jobs during very difficult economic circumstances.”

Earlier this week, the U.S. lumber industry petitioned Washington to launch legal action against the Canada and BC governments and forest companies. Now facing this, and with the TPP in jeopardy, Bond adds this is trip even more important.

“We don’t know what to expect in terms of what the implications of the new President will be in the United States but we’re going to work constructively with our partners across Canada and around the world to tell British Columbia’s story.”

According to the provincial government, over 50% of Canada’s softwood lumber exports to the US are from BC. It accounts for over 65,000 jobs across more than 140 BC communities.

The delegation will travel to at least four different cities on their nine-day trip, which wraps up on December 3rd