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Call For Trans-Tasman Forestry Leadership - NZFIC

Call For Trans-Tasman Forestry Leadership - NZFIC

The New Zealand Forest Industries Council today called for greater trans-Tasman cooperation on trade issues and market development.

Speaking at the Future Forests & Timber Conference in Sydney, NZFIC chief executive Stephen Jacobi said forest industries on both sides of the Tasman were increasingly integrated.

“We are chasing essentially the same markets and we face similar challenges. These challenges – of developing new markets and new products and of securing a more open environment for forest products trade – are bigger than just one industry and bigger than just one country.”

The forest industries in North America were in a similar situation and had formed a forum of chief executives to examine major, strategic, trans-border, cross-cutting issues. These included trade liberalisation, generic wood promotion, market trends and environmental promotion.

“Perhaps it is time to consider something like this between Australian and New Zealand industries – a Trans-Tasman Forestry Forum that would provide leadership in confronting the challenges of future market and product development. Beginning a dialogue on international trade policy issues might well be a good place to start.”

Mr Jacobi, who chairs an international body set up to develop and promote a common forest industry position on trade issues, said the failure of trade ministers to reach agreement at the World Trade Organisation’s Doha negotiations in Mexico recently was disappointing.

Australia’s National Association of Forest Industries was part of the industry group but support from the whole of the Australian industry, particularly the plantation forestry and paper sectors, would be welcome.

However he was confident trade liberalisation would occur.

“As international markets are freed up through the slow but sure process of the WTO, and the pace of international competition quickens, we must position ourselves more aggressively. That means, inevitably, doing more together.”

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