Seizing Opportunities in South Korea’s Green Deal: A Potential Windfall for Canada’s Forestry Industry

By: Tai Jeong

Country Director, Canada Wood Korea

The South Korean market holds considerable significance for Canada’s forestry sector. Over the past two decades, the adoption of wood in construction has gathered pace in the East Asian nation, spurred by increasing prosperity, urban decentralisation strategies, and governmental endeavours to promote passive and zero-energy buildings by 2025. Furthermore, the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement has granted British Columbia tariff-free access to the lumber market, as well as the gradual removal of tariffs for other wood products. As the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Canada and South Korea is marked, the exploration of the opportunities presented by South Korea’s Green New Deal initiative is timely.

Capitalising on South Korea’s Green New Deal

In July 2020, South Korea unveiled the Korean New Green Deal, a CAD 128.5 billion package aimed at expediting the adoption of digitalisation and green technologies. The Green New Deal is structured around three central themes: Green Transition of Infrastructure, Low-carbon and Decentralised Energy, and Green Industry Innovation. These key areas offer a prime opportunity for Canada’s forestry sector to leverage its proficiency in environmentally sustainable wood construction, infill wall systems, and Nail-Laminated Timber (NLT) systems.

Wood Frame Construction Opportunities

As South Korea embarks on a green transformation of infrastructure, the demand for eco-friendly, energy-efficient building materials is anticipated to rise. Wood frame construction, renowned for its low-carbon footprint and energy-saving properties, aligns seamlessly with this emerging paradigm. Canadian firms can supply their expertise in wood frame construction, delivering sustainable solutions for the establishment of zero-energy public facilities, such as schools and daycare centres, in South Korea.

Infill Wall and NLT Systems

The transition to low-carbon and decentralised energy in South Korea presents a chance for Canadian enterprises to introduce cutting-edge wood construction technologies, including infill wall and NLT systems. Infill wall systems afford thermal insulation and diminished energy consumption, while NLT systems proffer a cost-effective and eco-friendly alternative to conventional concrete and steel constructions.

With South Korea striving to cultivate innovation in green industries, Canada Wood join forces with Korean counterparts in research and development endeavours, as well as contribute technical know-how to wood building technology. This collaboration can facilitate the adoption of low-carbon, environmentally responsible practices within the Korean construction sector, ultimately benefiting Canada’s forestry industry by broadening the market for its products.

Image: Second NLT demostration projects in Seungsan Village, South Korea

South Korea’s New Green New Deal offers a unique opportunity for Canada’s forestry sector to fortify its presence in the Korean market. By endorsing low-carbon wood frame construction, infill wall systems, and NLT systems, Canada can establish themselves as pivotal players in South Korea’s shift towards a sustainable, green economy. The 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Canada and South Korea heralds a fresh era of collaboration and growth, and Canada’s forestry sector is well-positioned to capitalise on these opportunities.