Taiwan AFPA/ Government of Alberta/ FPInnovations Mission December 6-15, 2014

Taiwan Mission December 7-15 2014

TaipeiBex 2014

TaipeiBex 2014

Mission Objectives:

  • Attend the 26th Taipei Building Show Dec 11-14 in collaboration with BCWood, FPInnovations and Alberta Taipei Trade Office. Completed see Appendix B for summary on contacts
  • Assist in the Canadian Green Building Materials Introduction Seminar on Dec12th. Providing information on SPF grading system in Canada. Completed. See Appendix C for copy of presentation.
  • Continue to promote Canada Wood and Alberta Forest Products Association. Completed. Contacts at show and site visits.
  • Work with FPInnovations on building code, green building and tall building issues. Ongoing need to revisit with Taiwan.
  • Carry out further market investigations and business contacts. Completed.

Recommendations

  1. Return to the 2015 TaipeiBex should budget and time allow.
  2. Continue market investigations.
  3. Ensure Fire Code issue has been moved forward or reach closure on issue.
  4. Coordinate with Agriculture and Forestry on market efforts going forward

Mission Notes

December 8th informal meetings Taipei

taipei-101

Taipei 101

December 9th Architecture and Building Research Institute under the Ministry of

The Interior (ABRI)

The Architecture and Building Research Institute (ABRI) http://www.abri.gov.tw/utcPageBox/ENGMAIN.aspx?ddsPageID=ENGHR    is a leading national research agency in Taiwan under the supervision of the Ministry of the Interior. ABRI operates similar fire and acoustic facilities to National Research Council of Canada.

The ABRI aims for promoting innovation and progress in architecture through nationwide research projects, policies and programs, to enhance the level of building technology and the quality of the overall infrastructure.

The major responsibilities of the ABRI are to conduct fundamental and experimental research, to establish building policies and regulations, to promote construction technical excellence, to develop innovative building materials, as well as to disseminate research results and implementation plans broadly for the whole building industry.

Laws and Regulations Research and development related to national policy and codes in building aspect, and the review of international building administration and management systems.

Technology Research and Development Research and development related to building disaster prevention, project quality and safety, structure engineering, construction technology, building environmental control and energy conservation technology, building equipment and material technology.

State-of-the-Art Materials Research and development related to new construction methods and materials, particularly for energy conservative, high strength, and health oriented materials, to streamline material productions and to increase the construction quality.

Objectives of the Institute include:

  • Development of intelligent dwelling spaces
  • Promotion of green building and environmental control technology
  • Planning for safe housing and disaster prevention
  • Establishment of fire safety regulation
  • Development of innovative engineering technology
  • Vitalization of the building industrial economy
  • Establishment of holistic life care building spaces
  • Preservation of historical and cultural buildings
  • Establishment of building performance certification labels
  • Improvement of experiment and testing capability

 Excerpts from Information Contained in Dr. Kenneth Koo’s Mission Report (See Appendix B)

Background:

Ms. Venus Chen of Canadian Trade Commissioner Office of Taiwan (CTOT) planned a meeting with Director General of ABRI to discuss next steps towards acceptance of National Fire Code in Taiwan. The advancement of wood structure building market in Taiwan requires a national building code standard that is supported by a Fire Code Standard.

Dr. Koo then hosted a conference call with Dr. Chun Ni and Mr. Christian Dagenais of FPInnovations to discuss FPInnovations position on overseas Codes & Standards, especially fire rated issues. Dr. Ni confirmed that there was no activity to the Taiwan file for past few years and suggested that American Panel Wood Association APA might have the latest information. APA mentioned that CTOT had commissioned GHL to undertake a fire code study.

Upon request, CTOT provided DHL Consultants Phase I document along with Taiwan code CNS 12514‐99. See Appendix C.

Method of fire resistance test. The request was for FPInnovations to suggest 4 assemblies for roof and floor systems used in Canada.

Ms. Chen suggested that Taiwan authority agreed if Canada provide the lumber assemblies and carry out a burn test at Taiwan’s lab, then test result are applicable to Taiwan code and can be added to the Taiwan Building Code Chapter 9. http://www.moi.gov.tw/english/english_law/law_detail.aspx?sn=26

It was agreed that Dr. Koo would gather the information and recommend that further discussions should occur between FPInnovations and CTOT.

Dr. Koo would recommended 2 wall and 2 floor assemblies with minimum fire ratings of 60 minutes and STC ratings of 50 from the NBCC 2010 as these are assemblies available to the public and listed in National Building Code of Canada.

Discussion:

CTOT hosted a briefing meeting at its office with Mr. Tom Cumming (Deputy Director), Venus Chen, Li‐An Chen (Representative, Alberta Taiwan Office) and Dan Wilkinson.

Ms. Chen presented the GHL Phase I Report and promised that the Phase II Report on Taiwan Fire Code will be commissioned in the spring 2015.

The 4 assemblies were presented as proposed with an understanding that validation test results can be used to substantiate the Canadian Fire Test results. If the results are consistent, then other Canadian fire and acoustic test results can then be recognized by the Taiwan authorities and incorporated into its building code.

Dr. Ho then discussed the costs of fire and acoustic tests. Each fire test will cost about NT230000 or C$9,380. The amount is reasonable and lower than the Canadian tests.

Dr. Ho invited the Canadian delegations to visit the ABRI test facilities in Tainan, Taiwan. ABRI operates similar fire and acoustic facilities to National Research Council of Canada. It was agreed by the Canadian delegation to visit the facilities on Thursday, December 11, 2014.

DSC03548

Left to right Venus Chen, Tom Cummings, Dr. Kenneth Koo, Dr. Ming‐Chin Ho, Kathleen Mackay, Lian Chen ATTO, Buddha, Mr. Alec Lei

Post Meeting:

The American Panel Association (APA) provided GHL Phase I Report to the Canada Trade Office as a professional courtesy. Dr. Koo briefed Dr. Yeh, Technical Director, APA, as a courtesy in return with regards to earlier CTOT meeting with ABRI while attending the APA reception on December 9th.

APA indicated a willingness to work with Canada to address the Taiwan Fire Code and Assemblies. A further discussion with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) confirmed US willingness to work with Canada on the issue. AIT is the equivalent of Canada’s Consulate presence in Taiwan. http://www.ait.org.tw/en/

The 4 assemblies were presented as proposed with an understanding that validation test results can be used to substantiate the Canadian Fire Test results. If the results are consistent, then other Canadian fire and acoustic test results can then be recognized by the Taiwan authorities and incorporated into its building code.

Dr. Ho then discussed the costs of fire and acoustic tests. Each fire test will cost about NT230k, or C$9,380. The amount was reasonable and lower than the Canadian tests. (Post Mission update. Subsequent discussions resulted in higher and escalated costs for the tests. The issue of cost, cost sharing, and roles has not been clarified.)

Dr. Ho invited the Canadian delegations to visit the ABRI test facilities in Tainan, Taiwan. It was agreed by the Canadian delegation to visit the facilities on Thursday, December 11, 2014.

Market Updates from Taipei Trade Commissioner

Due to other work priorities during visit CTOT was not able to provide a comprehensive update on the wood product market. Subsequently, they provided an update which can be found in Appendix E of this report. BC Forest Investment and Innovation has just completed an update on the Taiwan Market which is included as well. Alberta follows the BC market trends fairly consistently. Alberta’s SPF share of the market is about 10% of BC SPF volumes.

December 9, 10th Taichung Taoyuan Site Visits

We visited three wood value‐added users and distributors. They were United Forestry Products Corporation and Woodek in Taichung, Taiwan on December 9 and Bestwood, in Taoyuan, Taiwan on Dec 10.

 Philip Hsiao, General Manager, of United Forestry Products Corporation (UFPC).

Phillip Hsaio100_4152100_4138100_4151

This is the second visit with UFPC. (Refer to the May 2012 Taiwan Report for further background on UFPC.)

Their wood supply is 100% softwood lumber from around the world and are Taiwan’s largest sawn timber importer. The Company was established in 1995 by merging 4 lumber remanufacturing mills in Taichung.

Branch offices can be found in Taichung, China and Ho Chi Mein City Vietnam (Golden wood), and VFPC Shanghai Kun-Shai Remanufacturing. The company has 5 distribution Centers in 4 locations in Taiwan (Hsinchu, Taichung, Nantou Kaohsiung). These centers produce and sale package and pallet, bundling materials, construction materials (interior decorating and landscape) construction, journey and LVC products

UFPC was a customer of AFPA and knows the Canadian wood fibre well.

Mr. Stan Chiao at Woodtek Yuh Tsai Co. http://www.klh.at/en.html KLH english website www.woodtek.tw

CLT Building

First CLT Building Taiwan

Woodtek office is near the high speed train terminal in Taichung. WoodTek is the KLH distributor for KLH CLT products in Taiwan. It has built a 5 storey CLT building to serve as its office as well as a CLT demonstration for Taiwanese architects and local government officials. For additional background on KLH products and applications visit  http://woodtek.tw/tw/?Page=product

Lian and Stan

Li-An Chen ATTO and Mr. Stan Chaio                                                                 

They want to build CLT townhouses using passive greenhouse technologies.

passive house

They hope to brand Everwood in Northern Asia as an affordable, fire resistant, green and earthquake proof house structure. See the shake frame demo at their website under Product tab http://www.woodtek.tw/tw/?Page=product . They are sourcing their spruce wood for CLT from Scandinavia plantations. Wood must have small and tight knots and no other defects or decay. Unfortunately our wild forest spruce has too many loose knots and other defects to be useable for their CLT product.

 Bestwoodbestwood decking

Tony Kuo on left side                                              Bestwood Decking Material

Mr. Tony Kuo, General Manager of YiTsai Wood Co Ltd (Bestwood) in Taoyuan www.bestwood.com

 IMG_1213

Bestwood Wharehouse

Bestwood is probably the largest importer of wood building materials, treated SYP, Redwood and engineered woods in Taiwan. Like all Asian companies, there are affiliated companies with the business. Mr. Kuo buys all kinds of wood from all over the world, such as Ainsworth OSB, Russian Birch, Chile plywood. Bestwood has a manufacturing plant /building which makes composite decking. They were interested in sourcing appearance grade SPF from Alberta. They were connected with a couple of AFPA members are were able to place orders.

 IMG_1387

On Saturday Dec 13th, Bestwood hosted a dinner for all its staff, the Canadian and American delegates at Taipei Bex 2014. He and his wife are graceful hosts for such a large event.

 Model of ABRI Test Facility

Visit the ABRI Fire & Acoustic Laboratories in Tainan, Taiwan – Dec 11, 2014

At the invitation of Dr. Ho, Director General of ABRI, Dan Wilkinson, Mr. Mineral Ding, Canada Wood and Dr. Koo, visited the ABRI facilities in Tainan, Taiwan.

Tainan is a two‐hour high speed train ride from Taipei. The fire and acoustic facilities are located at one campus location. We were met by Mr. Ming‐Ju Tsai, the Research Laboratory Head (fire facility) and Mr. Jau‐Cho Lin, Associate Researcher (acoustic facility).

The fire facility is consisted of several buildings including fire resistance material testing facility, smoke control tower, partial fire prevention test chamber and fire durability construction test facility.

ABRI Fire and Acoustic Facility Model

4_v18n3 ABRI Fire Test Preparations

Example of wall panel fire test       ABRI actual test preparation

The fire assembly test facility has equipment to carry out wall and floor fire tests. There was no test scheduled at the time of visit although there were assemblies being prepared for testing.

The duration of the visit to the facilities is very short. As a result, we did not review the calibration equipment, its data recording equipment and test monitoring room although we did witness multiple wirings from test equipment and setups on the floor. It is interesting to note the ABRI had also built a smoke chamber tower, similar to NRC Almonte, ON facility.      

We then visited ABRI Acoustic Building and Laboratories (Architectual Acoustics Laboratories). The chambers consist of Sound Absorption Coefficient Testing Lab, Airborne Sound Insulation Testing Lab for Sound Intensity and Sound Pressure. The hammer equipment used for IIC (Impact Insulation Class) was also present on the floor. Again, all necessary test equipment and procedures are similar to North American ASTM procedures.

Room 1 and 2  sound transmission 249x187 Acoustic test room

Examples of various acoustic test setups

 Canadian Team and Dr. Ho ABRI

 Dr. Koo FPInovations,  Buddha, Dr.  Ho  ABRI and  Mineral Ding  BCWood

December 11-14 TaipeiBex 2014, Taipei International Building, Construction and Decoration Exhibition

The AFPA/FPInnovations booth was one of the booths under the Canadian Pavilion. This booth is manned by Mr. Wilkinson, Ms. Chen and Dr. Koo as the Alberta delegation.

This is a fairly large show and claimed 56,000 attendees in 2013 with media interviews as well as politicians visiting the international booth.

The Canadian Trade Office in Taipei printed a Canada Pavilion guide – titled Sustainable, Affordable and Livable. The highlight on the AFPA and FPInnovations was on p.2 of the document.

 TaipeiBex Promo

During the duration of Taipei BEX 2014 which started on Thursday, Dec 11 to Sunday, Dec 14, the team greeted visitors to the booth and provided product information to interested groups such as lumber purchasers, engineers, architects, politicians, academia such as professors and students.

TaipeibextaipeiBex  offical delegation

 Canada pavilion

December 12th Presenting at Canadian Green Building Materials Introduction Seminar

Seminar

The Grading presentations presented by Dan Wilkinson and Mineral Ding BCWood are the same ones that were

The seminar was well organized with local industry presentations in the morning and Canadian presentations in the afternoon. Canadian government officials were present to welcome the Taiwan government officials and the delegates. There were about 30 ‐ 40 attendees at the sessions. This was a focused group of interested people and raised good relevant questions.

Alberta Forest Products – Export Market Opportunities Assessment

Taiwan

January 17, 2013 Updated January 2015 by CTOT

Highlights

Taiwan is a thriving democracy, vibrant market economy, and an attractive export market for North American companies. The Taiwan economy has rebounded well from the financial crises of 2010, and has shown an upward trend in GDP growth from 2.06 percent (2012), to 2.23 percent (2013) to the previous year’s GDP growth of 3.74 percent. The GDP growth rate in 2014 compares favorably with neighboring countries including South Korea (3.3 percent) and Singapore (2.8 percent). With a major component of corporate cost structures being in energy products, any prolongation of the current low oil prices will serve as a stimulus to local manufacturing, increasing Taiwanese competitiveness – note that Taiwan is almost entirely dependent on foreign raw materials including hydrocarbons.

Taiwan has an active and well-established bilateral trade relationship with Canada, and offers excellent potential for export and trade investment opportunities. Low unemployment and an appreciating Taiwanese currency make Canadian goods and services attractive to Taiwan buyers. In particular, the Taiwanese currency has appreciated 20 percent against the Canadian dollar over the last four months to February 2015.

Taiwan produces no commercially significant quantities of wood and relies on imports for effectively all of its consumption. Native forests are virtually off limits for harvesting, leaving only a small plantation base as Taiwan’s domestic source of commercial fibre. Consequently, imports are expected to grow to satisfy increasing wood fibre needs for Taiwan’s domestic needs plus export-oriented products that are increasingly being made under Taiwanese supervision in neighboring countries such as China, Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar.

Overall, Taiwan is the 4th largest lumber importer in East Asia next to China, Japan, and Korea. In 2010, softwood lumber consumption increased to an estimated 766,000 m3, a record high. Wood products consumption per capita increased by 20% in 2010, over 2009. Canada is Taiwan’s main source of softwood lumber, followed by the US, New Zealand, Australia, and Chile. Imports from Canada over the five years from 2009 – 2014 have nearly tripled for wood products (to $108 million) most of which was softwood lumber supplied by BC companies. Pulp sales are also growing rapidly at 15 percent annually – Canada continues to be the largest supplier of wood pulp to Taiwan at $175 million in revenues for 2014.

Taiwan’s government has supported wood frame construction since the 1999 earthquake that destroyed or damaged over 200,000 homes. Over the past few years, Taiwan has been working through a process of normalization of wood as an accepted structural material however; most construction in wood frame to date has been for resorts, and other recreational property. The Canadian Trade Office in Taipei, with the assistance of industry groups including the Alberta Forest Products Association and with other nation’s representatives including the American Institute in Taiwan, have been working extremely hard with Taiwanese authorities towards the introduction of a much more wood-friendly fire code chapter in the Taiwanese Building Code. This effort is now at the stage of identifying and doing conclusive burn tests on sample wall, floor and ceiling assemblies. Once these tests are completed, Taiwanese builders can avoid the added financial and resource burden of repetitive testing of wood assemblies for each project.

Structural wood represents a promising area of growth, however creating a lumber and timber frame market that is sustainable and commercially viable, will depend on the acceptance of wood as a viable construction material by real estate developers, domestic banks, insurance providers, as well as increasing the availability of architects, engineers, and workers trained in wood construction techniques. A revamped Building Code will be of great assistance, as will greater acceptance of wood-based building products including Engineered Wood Products. Of note, Taichung, Taiwan is the home to Asia’s first 5 storey Cross-Laminated Timber building, which is also the first such project to be approved for mortgage financing in Taiwan.

The Government’s approval of revisions to regulations regarding construction using wood, in particular the fire code (2009), is expected to clear the way for large commercial scale wood and timber frame construction projects, and allow for development of upscale market opportunities such as new townhome and single home communities, and large scale tourism projects. Western style homes in wood frame construction represent a higher standard of living for many Taiwanese, and it is expected that wood frame construction will grow in acceptability over the next decade and account for approximately 2% of new construction starts.

The Construction and Planning Administration (CPA), as well as district government planning offices, are beginning to favor the use of treated softwood and engineered wood products, rather than traditional concrete and steel, in the construction of public recreational infrastructure. This policy change, along with the growth in apartment re-sales is creating an increasing demand for hardwood and softwood renovation and new construction materials.

Taiwan authorities wish to demonstrate the benefits of green building technologies, increase the practice of green building, and make information on green building more readily available. The Ministry of the Interior announced that they are increasing the use of green materials in the construction of public and commercial buildings, from 5% to 30%. The use of sustainable energy resources has become a major focus of the construction industry.

Taiwan companies have stated that they like the quality of Alberta lumber, but the added transportation cost can present a challenge in a price competitive market. As a result, Alberta companies sold a negligible volume of lumber to Taiwan in 2014, although pulp sales were reasonable from Alberta at $26 million (up 10% over 2013). In 2014, semi-chemical wood pulp was the 3rd largest Alberta export to Taiwan after base metals (scrap steel, copper) and mineral products (coal).

Some Taiwanese companies have indicated that an increase in the availability of metric cut lumber and reman products would be beneficial.

Taiwan’s consumption of particleboard increased by 24% in 2010, and MDF increased by 39%, which surpassed pre-recession volumes. Interior design wood primarily consists of composite material faced with hardwood veneers. The largest current sources of supply are Europe and Thailand.

Taiwan’s heavy reliance on imported wood products together with its strong economic performance, proximity to Mainland China, and a growing demand for North American lifestyle high quality goods and services, makes it a long-term important market for Canadian producers. Taiwan is a strong potential partner in the development of global supply chains given its strength in contract manufacturing and in global value chains in third countries such as China, Vietnam and Myanmar for the manufacturing of furniture and building products.

 Country Information

Region: East Asia

Background:

 Taiwan map

Taiwan is an island which has, for all practical purposes, been independent since 1950, but which China regards as a rebel region that must eventually be reunited with the mainland. China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, when the defeated Nationalist government fled to the island after the Communists, under Mae Zedong, swept to power. Long-standing tensions with the mainland have eased since the China-friendly President Ma Ying-jeou took office in 2008. In 2009, leaders of Taiwan and China exchanged direct messages for the first time in 60 years. In 2010, the two countries signed an historic trade pact leading to China becoming Taiwan’s largest export market. China continues to insist that nations cannot have diplomatic ties with both China and Taiwan.

 Area: 36,000 sq. km

Population:   23.4 million (July 2014 est.)

Growth Rate: .25% (2014 estimate)

Literacy rate (Age 15+ can read and write): 96%

Age structure:

15-64 years: 74%

65 years and over: 11.6%

Language(s):  Mandarin Chinese (official), Taiwanese, Hakka

Major Cities:  Capital – Taipei, New Taipei City, Kaohsiung, Taichung, Taoyuan, Tainan.

Climate:  Tropical; marine; rainy/monsoon season June to August; cloudiness is persistent and extensive all year.

Natural Resources:  Small deposits of coal, natural gas, marble, and asbestos

 Political Environment

 Government: Presidential Republic, with multi-party Parliamentary Democracy (next elections 2016)

Political Outlook: Stable

Under Canada’s “one China” policy, Canada does not recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state and does not maintain official, government-to-government relations with Taiwan. Taiwan does not have a Diplomatic or Consular Mission accredited to Canada. Canada’s interests are served by the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei, and Taiwan’s Canadian interests are represented by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (branches in Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver).

State of the Economy

 After five decades of hard work, Taiwan has transformed itself into a leading producer of high-technology goods. Taiwan is the world’s largest manufacturer of computer monitors, and a leading PC supplier. As the global economy improves, Taiwan is expected to continue to show advantages in innovation, R&D, human resources, transportation, and communications.

Taiwan’s economy continues to expand at about 5% per year with almost full employment, and low inflation.

Taiwan is the fourth largest holder in the world of foreign exchange reserves, with over US $423 billion in 2015 (fifth largest reserves worldwide).

Taiwan’s diplomatic isolation, low birth rate, and aging population will lead to major long-term challenges in labor shortages, falling domestic demand, and declining tax revenues.

GDP (2011): Growth rate: 3.74% vs. Canada 1.6%

  • GDP: US$ 484 billion vs. Canada $1,825 billion
  • Per capita GDP (PPP): $39,600 vs. Canada $43,100

Currency: Taiwanese Dollar  (TWD)

    • Exchange rate: $1 CDN = 25.04 Taiwanese Dollars (2015 February)

Unemployment: 4.1% (2014)

Inflation rate: 1.1% (2014)

Economic Outlook: Stable

 Business Environment

 Taiwan is a thriving democracy, vibrant market economy, and an attractive export market for North American companies. The Taiwan economy has rebounded well from the financial crises of 2010, and has shown an upward trend in GDP growth from 2.06 percent (2012), to 2.23 percent (2013) to the previous year’s GDP growth of 3.74 percent. The GDP growth rate in 2014 compares favourably with neighbouring countries including South Korea (3.3 percent) and Singapore (2.8 percent). With a major component of corporate cost structures being in energy products, any prolongation of the current low oil prices will serve as a stimulus to local manufacturing, increasing Taiwanese competitiveness – note that Taiwan is almost entirely dependent on foreign raw materials including hydrocarbons.

Low unemployment and an appreciating Taiwanese currency make Canadian goods and services attractive to Taiwan buyers.

Taiwan is a member of the Asian Development Bank, the WTO, and the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum, which reflects Taiwan’s economic importance, and desire to become further integrated into the global economy.

Taiwan’s economy is becoming increasingly linked with China.

  • An “Economic Cooperative Framework Agreement” with China has further increased Taiwan’s exports to China.

In 2014, Taiwan was ranked 13th (China 23rd) of 60 economies in a global competitiveness assessment by the International Institute of Management Development.

In 2012 the World Bank ranked Taiwan at 18th of 185 economies with regard to the ease of doing business. Of note, Taiwan has continually made improvements in the ease of dealing with construction permits.” “These changes eliminated 14 procedures, and 31 days from the permitting process.”

Key Industry Sectors: agriculture, biotechnology, electronics, communications and information technology

Taiwan ranks as Alberta’s 10th largest export market.

  • Alberta has maintained a presence in Taipei since 1988 through the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei, established for the purpose of promoting greater trade and business relations between Alberta and Taiwan. This office is available to assist Alberta companies interested in establishing bi-lateral business contacts in Taiwan.

The Canadian Trade Office in Taipei (CTOT), a locally incorporated entity established to facilitate and increase two-way trade and investment, and staffed by Canadian government and local Taiwanese personnel, has represented Canada in Taiwan since 1986. The Alberta Taiwan Office is co-located with the CTOT, and has been providing services specifically to Alberta companies since its inauguration 1988.

Trade

Exports:
$305.8 billion (2013 est.)country comparison to the world: 20$299.8 billion (2012 est.)
Exports – commodities:
electronics, flat panels, machinery; metals; textiles, plastics, chemicals; optical, photographic, measuring, and medical instruments
Exports – partners:
China 27.1%, Hong Kong 13.2%, US 10.3%, Japan 6.4%, Singapore 4.4% (2012 est.)
Imports:
$268.5 billion (2013 est.)country comparison to the world: 19$268.8 billion (2012 est.)
Imports – commodities:
electronics, machinery, crude petroleum, precision instruments, organic chemicals, metals
Imports – partners:
Japan 17.6%, China 16.1%, US 9.5% (2012 est.)

 Wood Products & Wood Frame Construction – Opportunities and Challenges

 Opportunities

Taiwan produces no commercially significant quantities of wood and relies on imports for effectively all of its consumption. Native forests are virtually off limits for harvesting, leaving only a small plantation base as Taiwan’s domestic source of commercial fibre. Consequently, imports are expected to grow to satisfy increasing wood fibre needs.

Although Taiwan continues to produce some medium to high-end items domestically, most production has moved to China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand due to lower labour costs. Opportunities to secure contracts with Taiwan buyers for sales of lumber destined for processing for the export market should not be overlooked. It is estimated that more than one third of furniture exported from China and Vietnam is produced in Taiwan invested facilities. In many cases, materials purchasing decisions for China and Vietnam production remain the responsibility of corporate headquarters located in Taiwan.”

Housing prices in Taipei have risen sharply in recent years due to a substantial difference between supply and demand. In 2010, the Council for Economic Planning and Development developed a “Plan to Enhance Soundness of the Housing Market”, which addresses housing needs for low to mid-income earners.

Structural wood represents a promising area of growth, which may be relied on increasingly for Taiwan’s housing needs. However, creating a lumber and timber frame market that is sustainable and commercially viable will depend on the acceptance of wood as a viable construction material by real estate developers, domestic banks, and insurance providers. Wood frame construction is currently a niche market, but demand for low grade SPF for packaging and concrete forming is growing. A recent revision to Taiwan’s timber standards now makes all wood species, including SPF, acceptable for construction. Wood products consumption per capita increased by 20% in recent years. Taiwan companies like the quality of lumber from Alberta. One company is interested in importing poplar logs for veneer for LVL production.

Over the past few years, Taiwan has been working through a process of normalization of wood as an accepted structural material. It is expected that wood frame construction will grow in acceptability over the next decade and account for approximately 2% of new construction starts. In 2010, softwood lumber consumption increased to an estimated 766,000 m3, a record high. Imports from Canada grew by 51%, most of which was supplied by BC companies. Overall, Taiwan is the 4th largest lumber importer in East Asia next to China, Japan, and Korea.

The government’s approval of revisions to regulations regarding construction using wood, in particular a new fire code is expected to clear the way for large commercial scale wood and timber frame construction projects, and allow for development of upscale market opportunities such as new townhome and single home communities, and large scale tourism projects. A revamped Building Code will be of great assistance, as will greater acceptance of wood-based building products including Engineered Wood Products. Of note, Taichung, Taiwan is the home to Asia’s first 5 storey Cross-Laminated Timber building, which is also the first such project to be approved for mortgage financing in Taiwan.

There is a growing demand for North American lifestyle high quality goods and services. This opens opportunities for producers of lumber, engineered wood products such as CLT and customized components for interior and exterior fittings.

The use of sustainable energy resources has become a major focus of the construction industry. Taiwan authorities wish to demonstrate the benefits of green building technologies, increase the practice of green building, and to make information on green building more readily available. The Ministry of the Interior announced that they are increasing the use of green materials in the construction of public and commercial buildings, from 5% to 30%.

Canada is Taiwan’s main source of softwood lumber, followed by the US, New Zealand, Australia, and Chile. Imports from Canada over the five years from 2009 – 2014 have nearly tripled for wood products (to $108 million) most of which was softwood lumber supplied by BC companies In the first half of 2014, Taiwan was Canada’s 4th largest softwood lumber export market by volume after the U.S., China and Japan. Taiwan’s wood import profile has made a successful transition from products channeled into the manufacture-for-export market to products imported primarily for domestic consumption.

Alberta companies sold a negligible volume of lumber to Taiwan in 2014, although pulp sales were reasonable from Alberta at $26 million (up 10% over 2013). In 2014, semi-chemical wood pulp was the 3rd largest Alberta export to Taiwan after base metals (scrap steel, copper) and mineral products (coal). Pulp sales are also growing rapidly at 15 percent annually – Canada continues to be the largest supplier of wood pulp to Taiwan at $175 million in revenues for 2014.

Despite fluctuations based on economic circumstances, Taiwan’s heavy reliance on imported wood products together with its strong economic performance, proximity to mainland China, and centrality in the supply chain and decision making for value added products makes it a long term important market for Canadian producers.

Geographic, Demographic, and Cultural Components Affecting Current and Future Use of Wood for Residences and Commercial Buildings

New Home Construction

Taiwan’s government has supported wood frame construction since the 1999 earthquake that destroyed or damaged over 200,000 homes. Over the past few years, Taiwan has been working through a process of normalization of wood as an accepted structural material however; most construction in wood frame to date has been for resorts, and other recreational property.. The Canadian Trade Office in Taipei, with the assistance of industry groups including the Alberta Forest Products Association and with other nation’s representatives including the American Institute in Taiwan, have been working extremely hard with Taiwanese authorities towards the introduction of a much more wood-friendly fire code chapter in the Taiwanese Building Code. This effort is now at the stage of identifying and doing conclusive burn tests on sample wall, floor and ceiling assemblies. Once these tests are completed, Taiwanese builders can avoid the added financial and resource burden of repetitive testing of wood assemblies for each project.

Western style homes in wood frame construction represent a higher standard of living for many Taiwanese.

Housing prices are rising due to a substantial gap between supply and demand.

Home Renovation

Growth in apartment re-sales is creating an increasing demand for hardwood and softwood renovation materials. Interior design wood primarily consists of composite material faced with hardwood veneers.

Office Renovation

Public Infrastructure

The Construction and Planning Administration (CPA), as well as district government planning offices, are beginning to favor the use of treated softwood and engineered wood products, rather than traditional concrete and steel, in the construction of public recreational infrastructure.

Preferred Products

Softwood Lumber

The use of wood in housing construction is growing as the building industry moves increasingly to “green” material alternatives.

The availability of metric cut lumber and reman products would benefit some importers.

 Wood Based Panels

 Taiwan consumed approximately 1.5 million m3 of hardwood and softwood panel boards during 2010, which was still below pre-recession demand. The majority of Taiwan’s imports are hardwood plywood from Malaysia, followed by softwood plywood from China. “Canada has not exported plywood to Taiwan in recent years.”

Taiwan’s OSB market is small, most of which is imported from Canada.

Taiwan’s consumption of particleboard increased by 24% in 2010, and MDF increased by 39%, which surpassed pre-recession volumes. The largest sources of supply are Europe and Thailand.

Furniture, Cabinetry, and Other Value Added Wood Products

 Taiwan represents an excellent opportunity to market differentiated, value-added wood products.

  • “Thermal wood” (carbonized wood from Alberta) being used for exterior decking.
  • Currently importing remaned pine from plants in Alberta for use in furniture.

The bulk of the engineered wood market consists of low-end plywood and particleboard. Changes in construction regulations will spur interest in high-end engineered wood products such as glulam, LVL, etc. Of note, Taichung, Taiwan is the home to Asia’s first 5 storey Cross-Laminated Timber building, which is also the first such project to be approved for mortgage financing in Taiwan.

 Pulp and Paper

 Pulp sales are also growing rapidly at 15 percent annually – Canada continues to be the largest supplier of wood pulp to Taiwan at $175 million in revenues for 2014.

Environment standards

  • Fire resistant products
  • Sound proofing
  • Energy efficiency

 Market Access Considerations

Import duties

  • Coniferous or softwood lumber: %
  • Particle board: %
  • Pre-fabricated buildings: %

Phytosanitary/Heat Treatment Regulations

Treated Wood Regulations

 Potential ways of entering the market

  • Create joint opportunities to work with developers and builders;
  • Sell via importers/agents (commonly done in Taiwan); and
  • Incorporate a corporate presence.

 Market Detail

 Taiwan Wood Products Imports From Canada – Major Products*

  $CDN Million 
  2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 14/13
Lumber 32.2 58 73.3 73 82.8 108 30.4%
Wood Pulp 121.7 134.6 136.7 151 152.4 175.4 15.1%

* Data source Statistics Canada

  

Taiwan Wood Products (M3) Consumption, Production, Exports, and Imports – 2010*

  Consumption Domestic Production Total Exports Total Imports From Canada Canada % of Total
Softwood Lumber 766,054 8,000 10,060 768,114 356,085 46%
Plywood 1,477,067 780,660 34,567 730,974 0 0
MDF & Fibreboard 163,807 0 8,385 172,192 2,432 1%
Particleboard & OSB 308,530 0 1,129 309,660 6,746 2%
Total 2,715,458 788,660 54,141 1,980,940 365,236 18%

   * Data source FPInnovations – August 31, 2011 

Lumber

 Taiwan Import from World – Coniferous Wood Sawn Or Chipped Lengthwise, Sliced Or Peeled, Whether Or Not Planed, Etc., Over 6 Mm (.236 In.) Thick

Taiwan Lumber Imports M3
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012(f)
Canada 222,763 329,640 281,218 223,981     365,000 379,126 349,799
Australia 99,020 79,694 77,498 86,028 84,789 63,964 26,951
New Zealand 111,610 61,481 98,203 73,724 93,336 112,277 58,500
United States 60,987 59,948 82,307 112,166 137,314 164,280 126,035
Europe 41,039 20,515 49,946 21,876 31,607 42,651 25,726
Other 168,591 153,794 113,579 70,647 77,353 88,340 44,694

 Taiwanese Lumber Imports

* Source: International Wood Markets Group though ASRD

 Panelboard Products

Taiwan OSB Imports – million sf 3/8″ basis
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012(f)
World 5.35 5.73 13.06 14.78
Canada 4.77 4.14 12.20 14.34
Other 0.58 1.59 0.86 0.45
  • Source: International Wood Markets Group though ASRD

 Pulp and Paper Products

Taiwanese Coniferous Pulp Imports
000 mt 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 (f)
Canada  119.05  111.27  89.34  94.09  88.35  83.10
United States  51.77  56.16  62.00  60.87  60.54  46.20
Chile  60.22  48.87  44.15  59.43  70.57  57.95
New Zealand  13.13  9.46  8.20  11.23  6.38  12.12
Other  7.73  3.19  3.22  7.75  6.35  11.55

* Source: International Wood Markets Group though ASRD

Taiwanese Pulp Imports million tons
Million mt 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 (f)
Deciduous 0.23 0.24 0.24 0.23 0.24 0.21
Coniferous 0.25 0.23 0.21 0.23 0.23 0.21

* Source: International Wood Markets Group though ASRD

 General Market Challenges

 Because Taiwan is typically inundated with products from China and other low cost producers in Asia, it is a target market for high-quality, differentiated products, rather than commodity items.

It is a price sensitive market and imported products must conform to specified standards.

 “While the building and fire codes increased opportunities for wood frame construction in Taiwan, consumer perceptions on durability, termite resistance, and cost remain as obstacles to widespread use.”

Challenges hindering commercial scale utilization of wood in construction projects include gaining acceptance by domestic financial and insurance intuitions, alleviating latent consumer concerns regarding wood’s longevity, and expanding the availability of architects, engineers, and workers trained in wood constriction techniques. Canada Wood, and the Canadian Trade Office have been conducting worker-training sessions since 2008 including specific events to highlight EWP products and Canadian lumber grading standards and practices.

 Market Strategy and Recommendations for Companies Entering the Market

To gain their initial foothold, new-to-market exporters are advised to find a local partner to serve as an agent, distributor, and/or representative.

The majority of firms in Taiwan are small to medium sized enterprises that are active in trading and manufacturing, and offer a pool of potential trade partners that can capably represent N.A. companies in Taiwan.

Alberta companies interested in developing markets in Taiwan could:

  • Contact the Alberta Taiwan and the Canadian Trade Offices in Taipei, for assistance in establishing bi-lateral business contacts in Taiwan.
  • Support and participate in trade shows organized by the Alberta Taiwan Office.
  • Support the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei in their efforts to convince domestic banks, insurance companies, and developers of the benefits of using wood as a construction material.
  • Participate in the Global Buyers Forum – Sept. 9-11, 2015 in Whistler BC; organized by BC Wood. Target audience is international wood buyers and sellers.
  • Contact “United Forestry Products Corporation. General Managers: Philip Hsian and Scott Hsiao.
    • Lumber and re-man sales. Largest sawn timber importer. 100% softwood sourced globally.
    • Products: wood for packaging, pallets, construction, and landscaping.
    • Currently import spruce from Europe, Radiata pine from Chile, pine from New Zealand, poplar from Europe.

Useful Contacts

 Alberta Taiwan Trade Office (ATTO), established in 1988, and located in the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei, for the purpose of promoting greater trade and business relations between Alberta and Taiwan. This office can help Alberta companies establish bi-lateral business contacts in Taiwan. http://www.albertacanada.com/taiwan/

  • Canada Wood: www.canadawood.com
  • Economic Development Canada (EDC): www.edc.ca
  • The Canadian Trade Office in Taipei (opened in 1986) represents Canadian interests in Taiwan in the absence of formal diplomatic relations. Its mandate is to promote Canadian economic interests in the region. Contact: Venus Chen, Trade Commissioner, Government of Canada “Canadian Trade Commissioner Service”: www.tradecommissioner.gc.ca
  • Canada Business Network: http://www.canadabusiness.ca/eng/page/2702/

Information Sources

 Canada Business Network – International Market Research

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada

Trade Commissioner Service of Canada

Canada Business – “Steps to International Market Research”

Industry Canada – Trade Data Online

FPInnovations

International Trade Administration Export Portal

Central Intelligence Agency – The World Fact Book

BC Forestry Innovation Investment (FII Vancouver)

Canada Wood Group, Vancouver

Canada Business – Exporting

Export Development Canada (Financing)

Business Development Bank of Canada

Wood Markets Group, Vancouver (Consulting Service)

US – Department of Commerce

BC Council of Forest Industries (COFI)

BC Forest Investment and Innovation

Forest Industry Development Branch, Forestry Division, Environment and Sustainable Resource Development –     “China and Taiwan Mission” Report: May 11 to June 5, 2012

 BC Forest Investment and Innovation has a 2015 Update on Exports to Taiwan available to members or by special permission.

http://www.bcfii.ca/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2015/08/Taiwan-Market-Update-Aug-15-Data-to-Jun-15.pdf

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