Research article New Zealand's Export Trade in Forest Products with Australia
New Zealand exports of forest produce to Australia were traditionally of high quality indigenous softwoods; the reverse import trade in hardwoods and pulp and paper products became worth twice the value of exports by about 1950. Exotic softwoods began to predominate in exports from the late 1940s and were exceeded in value by kraft pulp and newsprint in the 1950s. Timber exports are largely low grade and during the past 10 years, as a proportion of total New Zealand and Australian sawn exotic softwood production, they have diminished by half.
The Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement does little to liberalize this trade apart from including kraft and fine papers. Australian plans for at least self-sufficiency in forest products are based on a high per capita sawnwood consumption and make future markets for New Zealand produce there uncertain. It New Zealand exports are to improve over the next three decades, the Agreement should be extended to include timber processing, as the supply potential is mainly of framing and clear-cutting grades.
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