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Upgrade of FTA with China offer boost for timber industry

Upgrade of Free Trade Arrangement with China offer boost for New Zealand timber industry

News of plans to upgrade New Zealand’s free trade agreement with China should open trade doors for more timber exports to China, and more employment in New Zealand, according to the Chair of the New Zealand Wood Council, Brian Stanley.

The Prime Minister, John Key, says New Zealand’s main aim in the China FTA upgrade is to reduce dairy quotas, but he also emphasised other improved trade prospects in China, including timber exports.

New Zealand dairy exports to China are presently worth $2.9 billion a year, while forest products are New Zealand’s second most important export to China, at $1.8 billion a year.

Brian Stanley says the New Zealand negotiators will be looking at current non-tariff barriers for New Zealand timber exports to China.

“The Chinese timber industry has all sorts of government assistance against imports, and even when we are competing against other exporters there, such as the US and Canada, the Chinese regulations are stacked against us. We’d also want more transparency in their phytosanitary rules.”

Brian Stanley says the New Zealand industry would like to see the China FTA result in more production and work for processors in New Zealand.

“At the moment China takes more than two-thirds of our log exports, but it lags behind the United States, Australia and Japan for importing processed timber from New Zealand, such as sawn timber, panels and paper.”

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