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Forest Industry Council Welcomes Trade Initiative

Forest Industry Council Head Welcomes Trade Initiative

New Zealand Forest Industries Council chief executive Stephen Jacobi today congratulated Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton on his decision to seek strategic input from business into current world trade negotiations.

Mr Sutton has invited 20 business leaders to form a group to advise the Government on the World Trade Organisation’s Doha Development Round.

Mr Jacobi is a member of the group, which meets in Wellington for the first time tomorrow.

“The initiative means our forest industries will play a direct role in helping develop the Government’s Doha strategy and forestry interests will be represented at the highest level,” he said.

“Trade liberalisation is vital for the future growth and development of the forestry industry. This assumes even more importance given the current challenges facing the industry.”

Mr Jacobi welcomed the opportunity to work closely with other business leaders and said he was confident the initiative would lead to a strategy that best represented the national interest.

The next ministerial session of the Doha round is in Cancun, Mexico, from September 10�14. The deadline for conclusion of the trade talks is January 2005.

Mr Jacobi will be in Mexico for the negotiations where he will be joined by other forestry and wood products representatives from New Zealand’s key trading partners, including the United States, Canada and Australia.

The group presented a joint industry position in Geneva last month ahead of the July 9-11 Doha negotiations session. That position called for reduction of trade barriers and more effective trade rules for forest and wood products.

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