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The Sealaska Timber Corp. spent much of 2002 developing new international trade markets in China. Because of the effort, the corporation was awarded the Governor's Exporter of the Year award in May.
"They maintain an operation here in Southeast Alaska that is just second to none," said Margy Johnson, director of the state Division of International Trade and Market Development, which chose the winner of the award. "They're one of the largest landowners, and they've been exporting for some years now."
Sealaska Timber, a subsidiary of Sealaska, the regional Native corporation for Southeast Alaska, is headquartered in Ketchikan. It has offices or operations in Juneau, Ketchikan, Craig, Kake and Hoonah. The corporation's largest markets include Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest.
This year, the corporation expanded its market to China, said Rick Harris, executive vice president of the parent corporation.
About 70 percent of the corporation's product is shipped overseas, Harris said.
"We send most of our red cedar into the domestic U.S. market, and our low-grade pulp logs go exclusively to Canada," he said. "Then the rest of the logs go overseas."
The total revenue for the company is about $70 million per year. Of that total, $43 million is spent in Southeast Alaska on logging costs, road and building construction and maintenance, and general administrative costs, Harris said.
The governor's office has been giving Exporter of the Year awards to Alaska companies on an annual basis since 1986. In previous years one business won the award and several runners-up also were honored. This year, two awards were presented: one each in a large and small business category.
According to the governor's office, companies in Alaska exported $2.5 billion worth of seafood, petroleum products, liquefied natural gas, minerals, wood and other products in 2002. Japan is the largest market, buying more than 40 percent of Alaska's exports in 2002. Korea, Canada, Germany and China also are major markets.