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Forest Products welcomes progress on China trade

The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) congratulates the Abbott Government on negotiating a bilateral free trade agreement with China and notes the significant positive potential for export industries. Source: Timberbiz

The two-way trade in forest, wood and paper products between China and Australia, expanded exponentially over the past decade and has
become extremely important for both countries,” said Chief Executive Officer Ross Hampton.

“The forest, wood and paper products exported from Australia include roundwood (which has increased in value over the last 10 years from $35m to $251m), waste-paper ($10m to $150m in value) and woodchips (from nothing in 2003-04 to over $150m today).

“Imports from China to Australia have increased in value over the last 10 years from $250 m to over $1 100m andinclude paper and paperboard, panels and transformed wood products.

“Most of the forest products industries in Australia are in regional communities which live and die by the economics of Australia’s trade.

This trade agreement with China should be a fillip to the over 70 000 Australians directly employed in the sector.”

As the relationship continues to develop over time negotiators should consider:
• fair transition arrangements when removing or changing existing import tariff rates, as domestic companies need time to adjust their businesses;
• continued support for an effective and internationally compliant antidumping and
countervailing system to guard against unfair competition;
• increased access for sawn timber product exports to China by Australian producers by reviewing any unnecessary limitations in building codes and standards; and
• recognition of Australia’s high standards as they relate to existing biosecurity protocols, given Australian exports of fibre-based wood products, such as woodchips and roundwood, are accepted as low-risk.