McAuliffe announces new forest product exports to Germany

Governor Terry McAuliffe Monday announced new export sales of Virginia forest products to Germany during a trade and marketing mission to several European countries this week.

The relationship between Kenbridge-based America Bluesky Lumber Industry LLC and its new buyer, Holz-Schnettler Soest, a lumber importer and distributor in Soest, Germany, originated during the company’s participation in a trade show in Germany earlier this year with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS).  The trade deal in Germany represents the opening of a new international market for America Bluesky, whose international sales have so far been concentrated in China and Southeast Asia.

Speaking about the new forestry exports during his visit to Hannover, Germany, Governor McAuliffe said, “One of my top economic development priorities in building the new Virginia economy is to work with Virginia businesses and international buyers from around the world to facilitate new trade opportunities for our companies and make Virginia the East Coast capital for agriculture and forestry product exports.  Today’s announcement is another step in reaching those goals. I’m pleased to see this new deal to Germany, which is a major producer and exporter in the global economy.  Growing forest products exports here, to be used by German industry to build and make products for all of Europe, will provide more revenue and job creation opportunities for Virginia’s forest products industry.”

While in Europe this week, Governor McAuliffe is attending Hannover Messe, the world’s largest industrial fair, and participating in meetings with European companies interested in investing in Virginia, as well as European buyers of Virginia agriculture and forestry products. The meetings have been arranged by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and VDACS.

“Export sales from Virginia’s forest products industry are an important component of Virginia’s trade portfolio” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore, also participating in the trade and marketing mission to Europe. “Growing sales in the forestry industry, the third largest in Virginia, not only creates jobs in the Commonwealth, but also ensures that our forests remain healthy and sustainable, encouraging land owners to keep more acres under forest. This has been a priority for the Governor and our international marketing team in Virginia, as well as our network of trade offices around the world. With more than 80 percent of the world’s consumer base living outside of the United States and with every one dollar in exports from Virginia generating about $1.30 within state, it’s clear why growing exports is key to the Governor’s work to build a new Virginia economy.”

America Bluesky, with operations in Kenbridge and Blackstone, exports kiln dried hardwood lumber and logs of various species and grades. America Bluesky met its new buyer in February at the ZOW trade show in Bad Salzuflen, Germany. VDACS’ Office of International Marketing participated in the show to promote international sales of Virginia forest products and invited Virginia suppliers to participate with them. With the assistance of VDACS’ European trade representatives, America Bluesky met many potential new European customers at ZOW. The company was able to sign a distributorship agreement with its new German customer and close this first sale after following up with its contacts from the show. America Bluesky, with assistance from VDACS’ European trade representatives, continues to communicate with other buyers met in Germany and hopes to announce additional sales in the market in the coming months.

“Europe is an important region for us as we work to diversify our export markets. We are pleased to have established this new relationship in Germany.” commented Jimmy Lee, President of America Bluesky. “We would not have met this customer were it not for the efforts of VDACS international marketing staff and their representatives in Europe. We appreciate their support in expanding our exports, and the Governor’s push to increase exports as a way to create more jobs and investment in Virginia.”

Agricultural and forestry exports from Virginia were valued at $3.19 billion, the second highest value ever, in 2015.  Virginia exported $64 million in forest products, excluding wood pellets, to Europe in 2015. In addition to Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom are the largest European importers of Virginia lumber, logs, veneer, and other wood products.

Following Hannover Messe and other meetings in Germany, the Governor’s trade and marketing mission will continue in Belgium and the United Kingdom this week.  The mission concludes on Friday.

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