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PROJECT PROFILE: Evergreen Building Products Association (EBPA, 2015 award)
Quality-Conscious Japanese Value U.S. Products
U.S. products are valued in Japan for their quality, third-party certification, and consistent supply. Several U.S. lumber mills actually produce a superior grade lumber with the Japanese market in mind. Japan is one of a handful of U.S. trading partners that will pay a premium for high quality products.
In one case, softwood lumber, Japan consumers pay 145% more for U.S. product compared to that sourced in China, specifically, Japanese imports of U.S softwood lumber average $624 per cubic meter, compared to $254 for China. This constitutes a great opportunity for U.S. suppliers, even though they are twelve times farther from Japan than is China.
Earthquakes and Energy Fuel a Remodel Boom
The Government of Japan has says 10 million Japanese homes need to be rebuilt or modified. It has implemented programs to encourage retrofit and remodeling employing energy-saving designs and earthquake resistant products.
Japanese home owners expend 1.5 times the portion of household income on energy for hot water and lighting & home appliances as do home owners in other industrialized nations. Even when compared only to the United States, the energy costs of a home in Japan are high. In 2012, Japanese consumers spent 6.2% of their household income on home energy bills, compared to the 4.1% in the United States.
Education Preceeds Export Sales
While Japanís remodeling industry is poised to grow exponentially, there is no regulatory supervision for remodel projects. This results in frequent incidences of substandard construction. EBPA reports seeing a jump in requests from Japanese associations for information about U.S. remodeling building codes, inspection systems, business models, designs and materials.
With MDCP help, through print and on-line media, EBPA supplies a two-way stream of information, informing U.S. companies about export opportunities and creating opportunities to promote U.S. products. At the same time EBPA is educating Japanese buyers and end-users about new products, applications and construction technology from U.S. companies. The end result of such activity should be increased exports by U.S. producers to customers in Japan.
EBPA is a non-profit building products trade association that promotes U.S. building materials and design services internationally. EBPA is made up of businesses, government agencies, universities, and trade associations who are interested in promoting western-style construction, U.S. building products, and related services in international markets. While based in the Pacific Northwest, EBPA represents companies from throughout the United States. The International Trade Administration has been cooperating with EBPA since 2001 to provide affordable and effective promotional activities.
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