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Wool exports to China

Wool exports to China

China's plans to retain its "first come, first served" system for allocating wool tariff quote next year was welcome, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

"This is an extremely positive development, which will be warmly welcomed by New Zealand wool growers and exporters."

Mr Sutton said that under the new system, introduced early this year, New Zealand exporters with valid supply contracts to China automatically gained access to the quota. China undertook to review the system before the year ended, and invited major wool exporting countries, such as New Zealand, to comment on how the system was working.

"Improved access for wool was our number one priority in our lengthy negotiations on China's accession to the World Trade Organisation.

"In line with WTO principles, we wanted a system that was simple, transparent, minimized costs to industry, and did not distort trade. The "first come, first served" system is a vast improvement on the previous import quota regime. As well as being more market-oriented, it has brought increased confidence and stability to the international wool market."

Mr Sutton said it was excellent news that the new system was being retained.

China is New Zealand's largest market for wool. In the year ended June this year, wool exports to China were worth $220 million.

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