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Inaugural Wood Shipment to India Leaves Surrey

May 03, 2011

Surrey – A surrey-based lumber company is shipping its first ever containers of wood to India today, just two months after participating in the Mayor's Business Mission to India, where the delegation successfully advocated for the acceptance of Western Red Cedar into the Indian market.

Jhajj Lumber shipped five containers containing 175,000 board feet of BC SPF (spruce, pine and fir) to Port Kandla, India to be used for wood and doorframes in new construction.

“From the beginning my priority for the Mission was to stimulate economic investment and job creation in Surrey,” says Mayor Dianne Watts. “The success being seen by Jhajj Lumber, as well as all of the other participants is fantastic news and I’m happy to have played a part of furthering Surrey’s economic agenda with what I believe will be an increasingly important trading partner, India.”

“India is experiencing tremendous growth, as is the City of Surrey. With more than 27 per cent of Surrey’s residents of South Asian descent, there are many synergies that allow for incredible economic and social opportunities,” says Mayor Watts.

One of the key meetings in the Mission took place in Delhi, where elected officials from Surrey met with the Joint Secretary of the Indian Federal Ministry of Agriculture to represent the interests of local forestry companies and advocate for the acceptance of Canadian Cedar species into the Indian market. Just one month later, on March 29, 2011, all three Canadian species (Western Red Cedar, Yellow Cedar and Eastern White Cedar) were approved for entry into India.

“It’s incredible, we’ve been looking to access the Indian market for years but with the City of Surrey’s advanced matching with the right Indian officials and companies and the hands on approach by the Mayor and Councillors to personally sit in and facilitate meetings allowed us to strike an extremely important deal while we were on the trip,” says Jhajj Lumber CEO Parm Jhajj. “This deal represents a huge market for us and a great story for the BC and Canadian wood industry. On top of these five containers we are preparing more shipments to leave within another week. We can thank the Mayor and Councillor Tom Gill in particular for that.”

Participating in the Mission were 32 delegates representing 24 companies in the clean energy, education, wood and manufacturing, film and entertainment, life sciences, communications technology and business and finance sectors. The trip, which included stops in seven cities in India from February 10 -21 saw more than 100 meetings with targeted Indian businesses and elected officials.

Councillor Tom Gill, who headed up the forestry portfolio on the Mission says the trip was an amazing success. “Incredible progress was made in this sector, one that I see as having strong potential to grow and create real economic benefit for Surrey,” says Councillor Gill. “I was extremely happy to participate in dozens of meetings with our forestry companies and Mayor Watts in working to achieve success on key issues around barrier to entry into this dynamic emerging market. Whether it was meeting with key Indian government officials to reconcile species designation issues or championing Surrey companies with their Indian counterparts the trip was a complete success from which Surrey stands to benefit significantly.”

The elected officials who participated in the Mission are Mayor Dianne Watts, Councillor Linda Hepner, Councillor Barinder Rasode and Councillor Tom Gill.

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Media Contact:

Laura Balance
Mayor’s Business Mission to India
604-637-6646 (direct)
604-771-5176 (mobile)