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Re: E-M:/ Certification of Forests

Enviro-Mich message from Murphwild1@aol.com


CONTACT:Barry Polsky


   Forest Industry Leader Urges Worldwide Tariff Elimination

WASHINGTON -- The head of the U.S.  forest products industry's trade
association yesterday called on members of a United Nations committee
representing worldwide forest products industries to urge their governments
to support liberalization of global tariffs on wood and paper products.

"What is needed now is for the European forest products industries, and
those of other regions, to communicate to their respective governments the
economic and trade benefits that the industry would gain from the early
dismantling of global tariffs on forest products," W.  Henson Moore,
President and CEO of the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), told
the U.N.  Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Advisory Committee on
Paper and Wood Products, meeting in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

"We have a real chance to open up some of the world's most attractive,
high-growth markets to real competition in the new millennium," he said.
"It is critical that the international forest products industry set aside
parochial interests and join together to support a World Trade Organization
(WTO) trade liberalization agreement in this sector, this year."

Moore warned against putting tariff liberalization in forest products into
the mix of a future comprehensive agreement.

"We as an industry have to stand up for what we have at stake at this
juncture," he said.  "We can continue to meet in these kinds of industry
get-togethers and talk about how we are for free trade but not do anything
as an industry to reach that goal." Or the industry can "stand firm and
insist that our government stop trading us for advantage in other industry

The U.S.  has virtually no tariffs on wood and paper, but other countries
in Europe and Asia have tariffs ranging up to 45 percent.  China's recent
decision to lower its tariffs on wood and paper to the 5 percent to 7.5
percent range as part of the WTO Accession Agreement represented
significant progress, he said.

China's decision included a commitment to sign onto the tariff elimination
agreement in forest products and eight other sectors under the Asia-Pacific
Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum when it is concluded in the WTO
Ministerial in Seattle in November.  In the APEC wood products sector,
tariffs on paper would be eliminated between 2000 and 2002; wood tariffs
would be eliminated in the 2002-2004 time frame.

"This is a significant commitment by China and challenges Europe and Japan
especially to step up to the mark," said Moore.

AF&PA and its members are showing the world a higher standard by making the
products American loves and needs, while remaining sensitive to our shared
environmental concerns, he said.  "But as good as our industry is, there is
currently not a level playing field between us and our competitors around
the world, and unfair trade barriers are a key problem."

The industry leader said his association is putting significant resources
into achieving tariff liberalization this year and called on his audience
to do the same.  The industry, said Moore, operates in a global market,
where the elimination of trade barriers is the surest way for producers to
cut costs and remain competitive.

Moore cited estimates by the international consulting firm of Jaakko Poyry
that free trade in forest products could generate 3 percent to 4 percent
additional growth in consumption worldwide.

Tariff elimination would result in a "win-win" situation on both sides of
the sales equation, he said.  Consumers would end up paying lower prices,
while suppliers would receive a higher price for their products.

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