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

23 November 2016

News of agreement to upgrade New Zealand’s free trade arrangement with China should open trade doors in China for more timber exports 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 would be to reduce dairy quotas, but he also emphasised other improved trade prospects in China including for 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 China regulations are stacked against us. We’d also like more transparency on what their phytosanitary rules are.”

Brian Stanley says the New Zealand industry would like to see the China FTA agreement 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 from processed timber products from New Zealand, such as sawn timber, panels and paper.”