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Waimate funiture manufacturer shows the way

A Waimate furniture manufacturer is showing that rurally-based New Zealand firms can meet the expectations of the world's most discerning consumers, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Waimate-based BJ Abraham Furniture has recently started exporting its "Iki" range of pine furniture to Japan, in partnership with Asplund Co. Ltd, a Tokyo-based furniture importer.

The furniture is believed to be the first in Japan to carry the Word Wildlife Fund-approved Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. The system guarantees that materials used in the furniture are sourced from sustainable production systems throughout the manufacturing chain.

Mr Sutton, who inspected the furniture at a Tokyo retail showroom today, said the venture set a fine example for other New Zealand exporters.

"I congratulate John Abraham; Asplund Furniture; the designer, Mr T. Odawara; and Trade New Zealand's Tokyo Office for the hard work that has gone in over the past two years to make this venture happen," Mr Sutton said.

"It shows that with the right preparation and effort, small and medium enterprises from relatively isolated parts of New Zealand can break into the world's toughest and most discerning markets," he said.

Mr Sutton also visited a housing company close to Tokyo which assembles kitset homes using New Zealand material and designed by Tristyle Industries from Awanui in Northland.

Mr Sutton is visiting Japan to promote New Zealand trade and to seek support for a new round of negotiations at the World Trade Organisation.


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