Associations of Japanese and Estonian wooden houses producers signed a co-operation agreement
27. November 2018

An agreement signed in Helsinki on November 19 sets a goal to increase export of Estonian wooden houses to Japan.
Estonian Woodhouse Association and Japanese Log House Association signed the agreement. Photo: Estonian Woodhouse Association

Managing Director of Estonian Woodhouse Association, Lauri Kivil, says that the strongest players at the Japanese log house market are Canadian and Finnish producers but Estonians also have a considerable role. “Japan has had an important position in the export of Estonian wooden houses sector, being approximately the 10th market by volume for us.” Japan often succeeds, for example, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Ireland and other European countries as a destination market for Estonian producers.  

Export of wooden houses to Japan has been stable over the years but this is basically a long-term partnership of a few companies that have created this stability. Japanese log house sector is mainly characterized by import and Estonian one by export. According to Kivil, it is the perfect combination for developing international co-operation and increasing market volume. „Successful business is a combination of product, price, logistics, after-sales service and so on,“ says Kivil but adds that first, it is necessary to make your existence visible. „When we introduced Estonian wooden houses sector to the Japanese they were extremely surprised that by production volume and quality we are equals to Finland and times larger in export volume.“ A clear message from the Japanese was that in order to develop the business, both the sector and the state must do considerably stronger marketing on success stories like that, says Kivil and adds that co-operation between professional associations creates good opportunities to develop the sector.  

It was important for the Japanese Log House Association when signing the agreement that Estonian Woodhouse Association is an organization that selects its members with care. Kivil says that when a company is a member of the Association it gives the Japanese a guarantee that they are dealing with a reliable partner. It is also important that we are the central information collector and we are ready to share this information. As a practical example, due to increase in input prices, price corrections in the region were made and that needed extra explaining with help by the Woodhouse Association. „Majority of the cost price of a log house is made up of the cost of logs, which has increased rapidly in our economic region during the last years. Also in other similar situations, our producers may need the help of their umbrella organization in order to explain the market situation.“ Co-operation between professional associations enables to exchange information operatively in such situations, adds Kivil.