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Global Forest and Paper Industries Unite in Geneva

Media Release from:

American Forest & Paper Association

Forest Products Association of Canada

New Zealand Forest Industries Council

Geneva, June 8, 2005



A delegation from the international forest and paper industry is in Geneva June 7-9 to press the industry’s case for trade liberalization in the wood and paper sectors through World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Doha Development Agenda.

Representatives from Canada, New Zealand and the United States have been making their case directly to government negotiators and the WTO during a series of meetings this week. This is the third such visit by industry representatives and marks the first time delegates from the Malaysian Timber Council and the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) have joined as observers.

“We’re here to raise the flag for the forest and paper industry in Geneva,” said Stephen Jacobi, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Forest Industries Council.

“We want a positive outcome for our sector from the WTO negotiations for both developing and developed countries. Forest products exports from developing countries are increasing rapidly – exports from Brazil, China, Chile, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Africa and Thailand increased by as much as 47% between 1988 and 2003. That puts our sector is in a strong position to contribute significantly to the development goals of the Doha agenda.”

The visit to Geneva comes on the heels of a major gathering of global forest industry representatives in Vancouver, Canada, last week. CEOs from 21 countries agreed on the need to eliminate tariffs and address non tariff barriers. In the case of some countries it was noted that tariff elimination would need to be implemented over an agreed upon period of time.

“The message from Vancouver is that our CEOs support trade liberalization in our sector. That brings a powerful commercial voice to bear in the negotiations”, said Ann Wrobleski, Vice President, International, of the American Forest & Paper Association.

Forest Products Association of Canada Managing Director for Europe, Ed Mallory said trade liberalization was good for the environment as well as social and economic development.

“Trade liberalization is an opportunity with enormous potential benefits in the form of new markets for our products – products that are often more ecologically-sustainable than other competing materials – as well as for poverty alleviation. These benefits need to be highlighted in the run up to the WTO Ministerial in Hong Kong this coming December.”


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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