United Forest Products heads to China

United Forest Products is all set for the 2019 China International Import Expo (CIIE2019), which takes place at the National Exhibition and Convention Centre, in Shanghai, from 5 to 10 November.

The Department of Trade and Industry invited South African manufacturers of value-added export products to apply for participation at CIIE2019 in July. White River, Mpumalanga-based United Forest Products, a significant business in the marketing of timber and timber-related services, was one of the 12 selected.

“With China expected to import goods and services worth over $10 trillion in the following years, the trade event gives enterprises from all over the world the opportunity to enter the huge Chinese market,” said Joey Lascelles, the CEO of United Forest Products.

“South Africa’s current export basket to China consists mainly of minerals and raw materials, hence the CIIE presents an opportunity to showcase the diversity of value added products South Africa is able to export to China,” she added.

United Forest Products’ objectives for CIIE2019 are to promote the South African timber industry as a whole, to all countries attending and exhibiting at the expo; promote United Forest Products and its products, especially lump wood charcoal; and to network with the Dti and other companies representing South Africa, to explore opportunities for greater cooperation among industries to promote industry growth, local manufacturing and job creation.

“We will also investigate opportunities for new product development, related to timber and timber-related products; investigate possible investment opportunities in new product development for roundwood timber and charcoal-related products; and attract possible investment interest in the establishment of local manufacturing, to ensure the future sustainability of the timber industry and the interest of the sole proprietors, small and medium enterprises that are reliant on the industry for their survival,” Lascelles explained.

The CIIE2019 will be much larger than the first one held last year, with official statistics showing that over 3 000 enterprises from over 150 countries and regions will participate in this year’s expo. It will have an exhibition area of over 300 000 square meters.

As the world’s first national-level exhibition focusing on imports, the CIIE aims to create new opportunities for enterprises from various countries and regions, satisfy China’s new consumption demands and inject new development momentum into global trade. The expo manifests China’s confidence in opening-up cooperation and mutual benefits.

For many foreign enterprises, the expo represents a ‘green channel’ for them to enter the Chinese market. Following the first CIIE last year, Italian home appliance manufacturers are successfully cooperating with Chinese e-commerce enterprises to explore the Chinese market. Latvian skin-care products have entered China’s gas station stores and e-commerce channels; and fresh fruit from Hawaii appeared in China’s stores.

In recent years, trade protectionism has been on the rise, which poses great challenges to global free trade. The CIIE sends a strong signal to the world that cooperation to realise mutual benefits is the right direction for global trade.

“The expo is therefore of great significance as it can help improve the global trade environment and boost global confidence in free trade,” said Lascelles.

For more information about United Forest Products, visit www.unitedforestproducts.co.za and Like us on Facebook: @UnitedForestProducts.