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NZ Forestry Represented At Meeting With Ministers

NZ Forestry Represented At Meeting With Ministers

The New Zealand Forest Industries Council today joined other international forestry organisations in urging world trade ministers to deliver a fair deal for forestry.

Chief Executive Stephen Jacobi is in Cancun, Mexico to attend the ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organisation. Mr Jacobi is an adviser to the New Zealand delegation and represents New Zealand forestry in an international industry alliance established to progress forestry trade issues.

That industry group today met trade ministers and officials, including New Zealand Trade Minister Jim Sutton, to discuss the challenges forestry faced in the form of tariffs and non-tariff barriers and how to liberalise forest products trade.

New Zealand forest industries pay $40 million in tariffs each year and confront non-tariff barriers amounting to at least $175 million.

Ministers who took part in today’s discussions were united in their belief that the WTO negotiations provided a means of expanding output, employment and economic growth and alleviating poverty.

“A successful and robust outcome from the Doha round is critical to ensuring the future growth of the world’s forest and paper industries. With global revenue of $US750 billion, the forest products industry is one of the world’s largest industrial sectors and makes a major contribution to living standards in both developing and developed countries,” Canadian Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew said at the meeting.

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Mr Jacobi said that ministers and senior officials from nine countries discussed the need for the WTO’s non-agricultural market access negotiations to achieve significant trade liberalisation for forestry.

“To achieve this level of participation from countries in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Pacific demonstrates how seriously those involved in the negotiations are taking forestry’s particular concerns.

“Forest companies and industry associations are doing their bit to build new markets and innovate to develop new products but our respective governments have a vital role through official bodies like the WTO and government-to-government contact.”
Mr Jacobi said a collaborative effort between industry and government had helped forestry become New Zealand’s third largest export sector. Success stories included the export of laminated veneer lumber to China, moldings to the United States and kitset homes to Japan.

Mr Jacobi and his fellow industry representatives presented a joint industry position to the WTO in Geneva in July [attached], calling for trade barriers to be reduced and more effective trade rules for wood and paper products to be put in place through the WTO Doha Development Agenda.

The industry group’s common views concern elimination of tariffs and non-tariff barriers and strengthening rules for anti dumping and subsidies.

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