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Jim Sutton Speech To Forestry Seminar, Shanghai

2.40pm, 4 March 2002 NZ time

Shanghai Forestry Seminar, Shanghai, China

Ladies and Gentlemen: I am delighted to be here in Shanghai again. This is a vitally important mission in the development of wood product trading between China and New Zealand.

China has become one of New Zealand's fastest growing sawn lumber markets earning US$135 million to December 2001. China is now ranked fifth behind Japan, South Korea, the United States, and Australia, as a market for New Zealand wood products.

East China is a new market for New Zealand pine and I'm sure you will agree when I say the region presents some exciting opportunities for business.

Equally, New Zealand pine represents an exciting opportunity for Chinese manufacturers of wood products to access a top quality, top value product.

New Zealand is a world leader in plantation production of pine lumber and other products.

We have a total 1,769,000 hectares of managed plantation forestry.

Of that, 95 percent of plantations are pine species - mainly pinus radiata, now commonly known as New Zealand pine.

Total New Zealand export sales from the forestry sector last year were $US1.5 billion - 12.2 percent of New Zealand's merchandise exports.

The New Zealand government has long recognised the importance of the forestry sector to our economy. This is why we have a strong legislative framework to support production and processing of wood products while maintaining the world's highest environment protection standards.

In partnership with the industry we support research and development, industry training, and infrastructure development. Our timber industry is a world leader in applied technology in silvaculture and processing.

This mission is one of the biggest wood products missions to leave New Zealand, if not one of the biggest missions from any New Zealand industry to visit China.

All of the companies on the mission have been exporting sawn lumber to this part of the world and have been selected because they're reliable suppliers.

You will be able to do business with each of these companies separately but they have come together on this mission to introduce you to New Zealand pine, and tell you about its special qualities.

New Zealand pine is ideally suited to the manufacture of furniture and many other wood products, decorative construction and specialised industrial uses.

Looking at our export prospects in a wider context, New Zealand exporters are expecting a good year with a solid season for agriculture forecast and the New Zealand dollar continuing to be competitive, providing our customers with exceptionally good value.

We are concentrating on being smarter and more active and we realise that as a government we're there to get the big framework right. We not telling everyone what to do and managing every aspect of the economy but we are happy to take the credit for keeping within a steady fiscal framework.

We are encouraging business and industry development. We are deliberately setting out to attract quality foreign investment. We want to attract specific businesses to set up in New Zealand - when you come to our country and do business you create jobs and exports and that's a priority for us.

The government is very focused on attracting quality investment into New Zealand. We know that we have to target specific companies. We know we must tailor a package unique to the target company and help them cut through the red tape. Take my word for it, we're putting a lot of muscle into getting countries like China to take our investment potential very seriously.

We add value by applying science and skill to our natural endowment - our unspolit and unpolluted environment - and our innovation strategy emphasises research and technology, and skills development. That innovation strategy focuses on strengthening our economic foundations.

In the year ended December 2000, New Zealand's total exported product to the People's Republic of China was worth US$379.6 million. In the year ending December 2001, our exports to your country had increased to US$568.57 million - that shows me that you must like our product here in China.

Forestry and wood products are important to us. We place very strong emphasis on sustainable forestry management. We see New Zealand forestry as having huge potential for growth. Our wood and pulp exports to China in the 2000 calendar year totalled US$54.6 million - last year they rose to US$121 million.

We want to continue this upward trend in timber and feel that by drawing your attention to our government's genuine desire to encourage Foreign Direct Investment into the value added wood products sector in New Zealand you will realise that we mean business. That's one of the main reasons for our mission to China and we're ready and willing to talk and tell you more.

As I said earlier the group travelling with me is one of the largest groups from the New Zealand timber industry to visit a market on a business development mission. The mission is made up of very important and highly respected companies and is strongly supported by the New Zealand government.

The New Zealand government is serious about export. Growing exports is essential for our future.

We're serious about helping and co-operating with countries that want to buy our products.

We're here today to talk with you about New Zealand timber and wood products - for example, our pine timber has qualities which we are very keen for you to know about and we're ready to talk. I could go on but I'll leave that to the timber and forestry experts with me here today.

What drives us is profitable business and what is foremost on our minds today is to work with you with the aim of building with the People's Republic of China a strong business relationship.

I take great pleasure in declaring this seminar open.

Office of Hon Jim Sutton

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