MOU Signing with the China National Furniture Association

By: Lance Tao

Export Development Program, Canada Wood Group

On January 29th, 2021, Canada Wood Group (CWG) signed an MOU with the China National Furniture Association (CNFA). With ongoing travel restrictions due to COVID-19, the signing ceremony was arranged online with representatives of each organization participating from Beijing, Shanghai and Vancouver. The ceremony was led by President Xu Xiangnan of CNFA and President Bruce St. John of CWG, and witnessed by the Minister (Commercial) Rachael Bedlington of the Canadian Embassy in Beijing.

The objectives of this new partnership are aligned with the Wood in Manufacturing (WiM) Campaign of CWG to promote the sale of higher-grade lumber and promote Canadian hemlock and hardwood species for consumer markets in China. This would offer lumber companies a growth opportunity for sales into manufacturing industries.

As China transitions towards higher quality goods with improved environmental standards, sectors such as furniture manufacturing will have to develop ecologically friendly growth strategies to maintain competitiveness and relevance. As the world’s largest furniture producer, China is a significant market for input wood materials for manufacturing. The sourcing of high quality and low carbon materials such as sustainably produced wood is important to the ongoing evolution of the furniture industry. This MOU will help facilitate exchanges on Canadian best practices through the “Try Canadian” lumber product trial program offered by CWG.

The CNFA was established in 1988 as a national industry organization composed of private and public enterprises, institutions and individuals involved in the production, distribution, research and development of China’s furniture industry. With over 7,500 members, the main work of CNFA includes organizing the China International Furniture Expo (Furniture China), promoting the development of industrial clusters, developing industry training programs, promoting furniture design, participating in standard setting such ISO/TC136 and SAC/TC480, and expanding cooperation between Chinese and global furniture industry stakeholders. CNFA has held the Chair of the Council of Asia Furniture Associations (CAFA) since 2014 and the Chair of the World Furniture Confederation since 2019.

Through this MOU, CWG and CNFA will promote communication and cooperation between the furniture and lumber industries. They will exchange market and industry information on topics including exhibitions and events, industrial economic performance, new products and standards, regulations and policies. Both parties will work together to organize programs in China and Canada whenever possible. These programs will include exhibitions, seminars, themed projects, market research and so forth. Through this partnership, it will be possible to build awareness of the sustainable management of Canadian forest resources, improve environmental standards of Chinese furniture production, and raise the profile of Canadian wood materials in China.