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Forest Industry Urges Progress on Trade

Vancouver, 31 May 2005

Forest Industry Urges Progress on Trade

On the eve of a major gathering of global forest industry CEOs in Vancouver, industry associations from six countries - Australia, Canada, Chile, South Africa, New Zealand and the United States - have urged trade negotiators to focus on delivering a major opening of world wood and paper markets through the World Trade Organisation’s Doha Development Agenda.

A delegation representing the forest and paper industry associations will be in Geneva the week of 6 June to press the industry’s case directly to government negotiators and the WTO. For the first time the delegation will comprise observers from the Malaysian Timber Council and the Confederation of European Paper Industries.

“Our aim is simple. We want a positive outcome for our sector from the Doha negotiations”, said Stephen Jacobi, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Forest Industries Council.

“That means above all eliminating tariffs and meaningful action to address non tariff barriers in our sector. Our industries need this to expand output and jobs and to continue making the enormous economic, social and environmental contribution on which our countries depend”.

A meeting of industry associations on 30 May preceded the Global Forest Summit to be held in Vancouver 1-3 June. The Summit will bring together over 600 delegates from 27 countries, who will focus their attention on key challenges for the industry in the period to 2015.

“Challenges abound for our industry but there are also enormous opportunities”, said Forest Products Association of Canada President Avrim Lazar.

“Trade liberalisation is an opportunity offering enormous benefits in terms of new markets and new uses for wood and paper products, which are often more environmentally friendly and ecologically sustainable than competing materials. Expanded trade contributes to the efficient use of resources and can generate economic growth, thereby leading to poverty alleviation. There are few policy instruments that can so decisively influence the future of the forest products industry in both developing and developed countries in the next decade than eliminating trade barriers, “ Mr. Lazar added.

John Hunt, Executive Director of the Paper Manufacturers’ Association of South Africa agreed, adding that, ”The Doha Round is about development and creating opportunities to alleviate poverty. We must continue to move this initiative forward, while taking account of the situation in developing countries.”

American Forest & Paper Association President & CEO W. Henson Moore urged governments to be ready to take action at the WTO Ministerial in Hong Kong at the end of this year. “Time is running out and the negotiations remain at a delicate stage. Negotiators need to set aside their defensive positions and focus on the benefits of trade liberalization, both for their countries and for the global economy as a whole,” Mr Moore said.

Mr. Jacobi added that the visit to Geneva by industry representatives is the third such visit since 2003. “A year ago we were the first group to address trade negotiators directly on the need for removal of non tariff barriers. This has been followed up by the New Zealand and US Governments, who have submitted an ambitious proposal to overcome barriers discriminating against the use of wood in construction”.

“This negotiation needs ideas to move forward and as industry representatives we are prepared to help our governments achieve an ambitious outcome for our sector,” concluded Mr. Jacobi.

ENDS

Note: The six industry associations are as follows:

Australia: A3P – Australian Plantation Products and Paper Industry Council

Canada: FPAC - Forest Products Association of Canada

Chile: CORMA - Corporacion de la Madera

South Africa: PAMSA – Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa

New Zealand: NZFIC – New Zealand Forest Industries Council

United States: AF&PA – American Forest & Paper Association.

Observers participating in the Geneva visit:

EU: CEPI - Confederation of European Paper Industries

Malaysia: MTC – Malaysian Timber Council


Forestry in New Zealand

NZFIC represents and promotes the interests of all sectors involved in the New Zealand forest and wood processing industry. Membership comprises forestry companies and industry associations who collectively own, manage and process wood and paper products from a sustainable, planted production forest resource of 1.8 million hectares.

New Zealand forestry directly employs 26,000 people, accounts for just under 4 percent of GDP, has annual sales of more than $5 billion and is the country’s third largest export earner at $3.5 billion annually. Through its Vision 2025, the industry aims to become New Zealand’s largest export sector, directly employ 60,000 people, contribute 14 percent of GDP and record an annual turnover of $20 billion.

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