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Disappointing Result But Forestry Work To Continue

September 15 2003
For immediate use

Wto, Cancun – Disappointing Result But
Work To Continue On Forestry

The outcome of the Cancun World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting is not the end of the Doha negotiations but a lot more work will be needed to achieve a significant outcome for forestry, the New Zealand Forest Industries Council said today.

“Trade Ministers in Cancun could not reach agreement but have decided to continue their work through officials in Geneva. Doha is not dead and these ongoing negotiations in Geneva will encompass the need for effective trade liberalisation in forestry”, NZFIC Chief Executive Stephen Jacobi said from Cancun, Mexico.

Mr Jacobi has been attending the Cancun meeting as an adviser to the New Zealand delegation led by Trade Minister Jim Sutton. Forest products are covered under the “non-agricultural market access” (NAMA) chapter of the negotiations.

“This was not a meeting either to launch or conclude a negotiation. It was a mid point meeting. As the Chairman Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez, said the work done here in Cancun will be valuable for the next phase in Geneva.”

Mr Jacobi congratulated Mr Sutton, his officials and other New Zealand representatives for the role they played in Cancun and for their strong advocacy of New Zealand forestry.

“Although the result is disappointing, the forestry industry’s 23,000 employees can be satisfied with the effort by `NZ Inc’, in Cancun both in the official discussions and the parallel non-governmental process.

“In the spirit of the Forest Accord, Forest and Bird President Gerry McSweeney and I did an effective double act, promoting and defending New Zealand’s sustainable plantation forestry model at the NGO forum.”

The Cancun meeting also provided the opportunity for close co-operation with forestry industry counterparts from the United States and Canada, Mr Jacobi said.

“Forestry representatives worked well in Cancun. The Ministerial meeting we organised on 9 September was attended by nine countries and together with officials we have mapped out an action plan to maintain the momentum with our initiative in Geneva.”

Mr Jacobi said that ongoing work would focus on assisting governments to strengthen the provisions relating to tariff elimination for forest products and finding a means of negotiating on non tariff barriers.

New Zealand forestry pays at least $40 million in tariffs each year and non-tariff barriers cost at least a further $175 million.

Mr Jacobi returns to Wellington on 17 September.


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