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Wood Sector Welcomes Geneva Wto Result

Wood Sector Welcomes Geneva Wto Result

The forest and wood processing industries today welcomed the conclusion of a negotiating framework for the World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations reached during the weekend in Geneva.

New Zealand Forest Industries Council Chief Executive Stephen Jacobi said the Geneva outcome was both a relief and good news for the global trading system.

“This hard-won result puts the WTO’s Doha negotiations back on track and avoids a melt down in the world economy. All export sectors in New Zealand can be thankful for that”, he said.

Mr Jacobi warned however that further work was still required to turn the framework into concrete gains for wood sector.

“In respect of market access for non-agricultural products including wood and paper, the Geneva result basically gets us to where we had hoped to be at Cancun last year.

“While positive, the Geneva text is still a minimalist outcome with a lot of detail to be worked out on the tariff elimination formula, no process for negotiating non tariff barriers and potentially lots of exceptions.

“While some special and differential treatment can be expected for developing countries, all trading partners stand to benefit from bringing down tariff and non tariff barriers and putting in place more effective trade rules.

We need to plug these gaps before we can declare this negotiation a success,” said Mr Jacobi.

Mr Jacobi said the Forest Industries Council would continue to work closely with its international partners to achieve a robust outcome for the sector from the WTO negotiations.

“The Santa Catalina Group of sector trade associations from six countries is proving a useful forum for developing input into the WTO negotiations. The Group will be reviewing its strategy in the light of the Geneva outcome”, concluded Mr Jacobi.

Note: The Santa Catalina Group comprises membership from Australia, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States. New Zealand is the Group Convenor. A delegation from the Group visited Geneva in May 2004.

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