Unfair log trade undermines ‘green economy’
WOOD MAKERS SAY THEIR CONTRIBUTION to helping New Zealand become a ‘zero carbon economy’ is being undermined by unfair trade practices.
At a meeting of the Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association of New Zealand (WPMA) and New Zealand Frame and Truss Manufacturers Association in Rotorua last month, WPMA Chairperson, Brian Stanley says the market is being manipulated in favour of overseas buyer and manufacturers.
He points out that despite the wood manufacturing industry having all the credentials of the ‘zero carbon economy’, with its ability to deliver good jobs, more resilient communities and a better environment, all this is being seriously undermined by the wholesale export of raw logs propped up by overseas subsidies.
WPMA has already presented a case to the government pointing out the unfairness of the market for domestic logs and Mr Stanley adds: “Overseas buyers can pay inflated prices for logs because they are supported by subsidies. In doing this, they are denying local mills competition for logs at fair and sustainable prices.
“If it is some comfort to you, I can report that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s very recent inquiry into this matter has indeed revealed a long list of subsidies being dished out overseas – subsidies they describe as controversial under WTO law.
“For a country so dependent on trade and the international laws that govern trade this finding by our trade officials is crucially important.
“Take further comfort from that fact, Trade Minister, David Parker, has acknowledged MFAT’s findings by commissioning a formal investigation into the degree of harm being caused in the domestic market for logs.
“The WPMA is all for free trade, but it must be fair trade and fair trade for all. Right now, our manufacturers are struggling to see the benefits of free trade agreements when they are being strangled by WTO-controversial subsidies. We will be following Hon. Parker’s investigation very closely.”