Ottawa investing another $600,000 to help spur lumber exports to India

MONTREAL - The federal government is investing an additional $600,000 to spur efforts to boost lumber exports to India, a potentially large market that's home to about 1.2 billion people.

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver announced the funding to Forest Innovation Investment India (FII India) during a trade mission.

Ottawa has already provided $1.6 million to FII India, which is also funded by the B.C. government.

The initiative showcases the use of Canadian wood to makers of office furniture, doors and window manufacturers, and builders.

The Conservative government has previously announced $197 million of funding over four years to help the Canadian forest industry to innovate, diversify and expand markets.

India has the world's second-fastest growing major economy after China, expanding by more than five per cent a year, but it has been a small market for Canadian lumber.

Two-way trade between Canada and India totalled $5.1 billion in 2012, including 53,000 cubic metres of B.C. lumber valued at $8.7 million.

Like China, rising disposable incomes in India are fuelling demand for housing and furnishings.

India's demand is mainly for hardwoods but the B.C. government also expects to see increase demand for softwoods and specialty species.