A HIGH-LEVEL Australian forest industries delegation will be in Tokyo next week for site visits and meetings with Japanese industry leaders and government officials.
The mission from December 10 to 13 will include a reception with Japanese industry representatives.
The delegation is led by Responsible Wood, the Australian Forest Products Association and the co-convenor of the Parliamentary Friends of Forestry and Forest Products Tony Pasin MP, and includes representatives from some of the biggest forestry and forest product companies.
The delegation has been supported by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and through its Tokyo post.
The visit is an opportunity to celebrate and reinforce the Australia-Japan trade relationship and update trade partners on exciting innovations and emerging opportunities in Australia’s sustainable forest industries.
The visit will also highlight the high standards of Australia’s forest sector and the strong guarantee of best practice forest management that Responsible Wood certification provides.
The reception on December 11 is the key event with one-to-one meetings with Japanese customers and trading partners and representatives from the Japanese government.
Tony Pasin will deliver a message from Senator Richard Colbeck, the minister responsible for forestry.
He said the reception was an opportunity to introduce Australian forestry and forest products companies that have significant trade with Japan who will discuss market trends, innovation and emerging opportunities in Australia’s forest products industries relevant to Japan’s business interests.
The delegation includes most of Australia’s woodchip processors, plantation owners, and state government forestry agencies that manage much of Australia’s public native forest estate.
The forest, wood and paper products industry is one of Australia’s largest manufacturing industries with an annual turnover of about $24 billion. Around 120,000 people are directly employed along the industry value chain with a further 180,000 jobs supported through flow-on economic activity.
“The delegation’s visit is a timely opportunity to promote Australia’s forest industries and highlight new market opportunities with our valued trading partner Japan,” AFPA CEO Ross Hampton said.
“The mission includes meetings with the Japan’s government and key trading partners to highlight the sustainability and innovation of Australia’s forest industries, with a focus on hardwood woodchip exporters to Japan’s mature pulp and paper market and growing biomass market.”
Mr Hampton said the delegation would strengthen market access for Australia’s forest resources into Japan and build on Australia’s reputation as a sustainable, well-regulated and efficient producer of forest products.
He said with the release of the federal government’s National Forest Industries Plan in September, it was an opportunity to inform the Japanese Government and trade partners about the opportunities the plan opened for Australia’s forest industries, particularly through the commitment to support the planting of one billion plantation trees and additional investment in research and development.
“The progress on extending regional forest agreements around Australia for a further 20 years provides a welcome increase in certainty for our native forestry sector,” Mr Hampton added.
The other co-convenor of the forests friendship group, the Opposition’s Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Joel Fitzgibbon MP, is unable to attend the Japan visit due to other commitments but he wished the delegation well on its mission.
Trade delegation agenda:
December 10: Meeting with Forestry Agency director-general Koji Makimoto. Tour of Sumitomo forestry biomass power plant.
December 11: Meeting at Australian Embassy with Australian Department of Agriculture trade officials and Austrade. Reception at Hotel New Otani, Tokyo..
December 12: Nippon paper meeting in Tokyo.
December 13: Visit Nippon’s Iwakuni paper mill.