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Radiata Wins Chinese Recognition – President Hu

Radiata Wins Chinese Recognition – President Hu

New Zealand radiata pine is to be recognised in the new Chinese Building Code.

Chinese President Hu Jintao confirmed the decision during his visit to New Zealand over the weekend, New Zealand Forest Industries Council chief executive Stephen Jacobi said today.

“This is great news. The future of our forestry industry lies in both increasing market returns and adding value to logs and sawn timber. This decision moves us significantly forward. It opens up higher value markets in China for radiata pine and positions New Zealand’s premier species alongside competing species from North America.”

Mr Jacobi said New Zealand industry and government had been working closely with Chinese authorities for two years as the Chinese National Standard of Code for Design of Timber Structures was developed.

A delegation of officials working on the Code visited New Zealand in November 2002 to familiarise themselves with New Zealand’s experience in using radiata pine in construction.

“We have worked well with the Chinese and this has been borne out by President Hu’s welcome announcement. There is no doubt that China is an important strategic market for the future and we are delighted to see this recognition of radiata so early on,” he said.

China was the forestry industry’s 5th largest export market at $345 million in the year to June 2003.

One-third of those exports were logs but Mr Jacobi said recognition in the Code, combined with China’s strong economic growth and increased domestic consumption of wood, meant New Zealand was well-positioned to expand its export of value-added products.

A free trade agreement with China would support industry’s efforts in this area and he welcomed the Government’s interest in achieving such an agreement.

Mr Jacobi said the industry would be actively following up its new opportunity, including accepting an invitation to assist in preparing a handbook for the new Code.
Representatives would take part in a meeting to discuss this project in Cheng-du next month.

“We intend to take a long term view of this market. With market access under the Building Code secured, we need now to identify the commercial opportunities and put in place a properly structured market development programme. An important start on this has now been made,” Mr Jacobi said.

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