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New NZFIC boss looks to improve trade access

30 July 2002

New NZFIC boss looks to improve trade access

A former diplomat and government policy advisor, Stephen Jacobi, has been appointed chief executive of the NZ Forest Industries Council (NZFIC).

Mr Jacobi, currently executive director of the NZ Trade Liberalisation Network, steps into his new role on 2 September 2002.

NZFIC chair, Devon McLean, says Mr Jacobi’s specialist expertise in trade policy and international trade negotiations, along with his experience with the Wellington scene, were key to his appointment.

“International market development and trade access, through things like the World Trade Organisation, are essential to the future of forestry in New Zealand, and Stephen has the skills we need in those areas,” says Mr McLean.

“The partnership which has been built with government through the Wood Processing Strategy needs further development, and that will fit naturally with Stephen’s strengths.”

As a former policy advisor to Minister for Trade Negotiations, Hon Jim Sutton, Mr Jacobi worked to build consensus on trade policy issues with other parties in parliament.

“You could say I have some experience in negotiating. I work hard to find win-win solutions,” says Mr Jacobi.

He says he’s looking forward to working in forestry, which is currently in a ‘strategic stage’.

“Forestry is a huge resource for this country – with huge issues to deal with, both nationally and internationally, to ensure we get maximum benefit from it. One of the big areas I’ll be focusing on initially is freer trade in sustainable forest products. I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”

Mr Jacobi takes over from James Griffiths, who held the position of chief executive officer for NZFIC since 1994. Mr Griffiths takes up his new role next month as director, sustainable forest and biodiversity, with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development in Switzerland.

He will be looking to improve the forest industry’s record of sustainable forest management and enhance consumer confidence in products that come from those forests.

Mr McLean says the New Zealand forestry sector has a “good friend in a very useful place”.

“Moving into this international role plays to the strengths James has shown in terms of developing international links around forest certification. He will be doing much the same as he was here in terms of promoting sustainable forest management, but he will be painting on a broader canvas,” says Mr McLean.

[Ends]

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