WPMA likes plan to regulate log trading

Wednesday 20 May 2020

Regulate NZ log trading: A step to clean up NZ log market distortion - The Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association chair, Brian Stanley, welcomed the announcement on Friday by Forestry Minister Hon Shane Jones to introduce legislation to regulate the behaviour of traders operating in the New Zealand log market.

New Zealand wood processors cannot access local logs because of massive price distortions in the domestic log market that are being caused by overseas subsidies he says.

“This legislation will help to ensure that log traders treat New Zealand wood processors and manufacturers fairly – enabling our local processors to add value to NZ logs and provide local employment. WPMA congratulates the Minster on leading the charge,” says Mr Stanley. “The Forests (Regulation of Log Traders and Forestry Advisers) Amendment Bill has started its passage through parliamentary processes and looks to have a test that persons trading in logs or providing advice are “fit and proper.”

“As an industry that prides itself on, and is certified for its ethical practices, we would expect the government to set a high bar for registration here”, says Mr Stanley. “As a NZ manufacturing sector feeling the full brunt of unfair industrial support measures overseas, the WPMA would expect the proposed Forestry Authority to enforce standards for sale and purchase agreements for domestic log transactions that reflect the real world price of logs and not prices artificially jacked up by subsidies,” adds Mr Stanley.

“Government subsidies to the wood industry are alive and well overseas. Unless we level the playing field in the NZ log market we will see further loss of jobs in the regions, wood prices to the NZ public driven up, an on-going disincentive to investment in our industry and the nation’s hopes of a future zero-carbon economy based on the wood industry dashed. We are not calling on the NZ government to match these subsidies – they are illegal under WTO law - but asking for regulations that remove the extreme market-skewing effect that these foreign subsides have here.”

“Mr Jones is taking a step in the right direction today and we congratulate him on this. The WPMA looks to supporting the Minister’s initiative as the Bill goes through Parliament,” concludes Mr Stanley.

Source: WPMA

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