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Trans-Tasman Forest Industries Strengthen Ties

Trans-Tasman Forest Industries Strengthen Ties

The New Zealand and Australian forest, wood, and paper products industries are moving towards a closer working relationship at a series of industry meetings to be held in Canberra between 16 and 24 April.

Chief Executive of the New Zealand Forest Industries Council, Stephen Jacobi, welcomed the move towards greater co-operation between the two countries.

“Just like our two economies under CER, forest industries on both sides of the Tasman are increasingly integrated with one another: we share a common resource based on radiata pine and we are chasing essentially the same markets. The fact is the challenges we face are bigger than just one industry and bigger than just one country,” said Mr Jacobi.

The round of meetings includes the inaugural meeting of the Trans-Tasman Forest and Wood Products Forum. Taking place on 20 April, the forum is a joint initiative between the new Australian plantation industry organisation, A3P, and the New Zealand Forest Industries Council.

CEOs and senior managers from New Zealand companies Carter Holt Harvey, Crown Forestry, Forest Research, Tenon, Weyerhaeuser, Winstone Pulp and from the New Zealand Forest Owners Association and New Zealand Pine Manufacturers Association are attending the forum. “Forestry is New Zealand’s third largest export sector and it makes sense to work co-operatively with our nearest neighbour on large strategic issues affecting both countries, such as international trade, research and development, and climate change,” said Mr Jacobi.

“Deepening our dialogue with the Australian industry on international trade issues is particularly important. As international markets are freed up by the slow but sure process of the World Trade Organisation, and as the pace of international competition quickens, we must position ourselves more aggressively. That means, inevitably, doing more together.”

Mr Jacobi will also be meeting with global forest, wood, and paper industry leaders while in Canberra. On 15-16 April he will attend a meeting of the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA) and on 17 April he will chair a gathering of industry leaders from Australia, Canada, Chile, South Africa, and the United States to review the progress of WTO Doha negotiations.

“Representatives of these industries first met in Oaxaca, Mexico, in May 2003 to discuss the progress in the Doha negotiations and to consider options to further the interests of the global industry in these critical negotiations,” said Mr Jacobi.

Mr Jacobi said the Doha negotiations offer an unparalled opportunity to eliminate trade barriers, put in place more effective trade rules, and address the specific concerns of developing countries.

“There has been a sense of drift in the negotiations for much of this year. But now that they are moving again the industry is keen to press for a robust outcome through substantial tariff reductions, the elimination of non-tariff barriers, and the creation of more effective trade rules.”

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