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Jim Sutton On Forests

Forest.In.DOC
Forest Industry Council And Forest Owners Association
8am, 25 AUGUST 2000
Stamford Plaza Hotel, Auckland

Ladies and Gentlemen: thank you for the opportunity to meet with you today.

As you all know, forest products are our third largest export. You contribute about 4% to our GDP and employ some 25,000 people.

MAF tell me that in the year ended June 30 this year, forestry products surpassed $3 billion for the first time. This was a dramatic 26.9 per cent increase from the $2.5 billion exported the previous year.

Driving the increase were improved prices for wood pulp, fibreboard, logs, and sawn timber, as well as the strong return of key Asian markets.

Forestry products exports accounted for 12.6 per cent of total exports in the year to June. The main markets for our forestry products were Japan and Australia. However, sales in Korea, the United States, and China markets all showed strong growth as well.

I have read with interest your vision for the industry over the next 10-25 years and the goal to be the number one exporter.

Obviously trade liberalisation will play an important role in your ability to be the number one export and achieve the best returns for your product.

I would like to assure the industry that trade liberalisation in the forest products area is a priority for the government.

Earlier this month, we gained competitive access to the expanding Japanese construction market, after months of lobbying. Japan

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