WoodWeek – 6 November 2019

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Greetings from your WoodWeek news team. The Prime Minister has been overseas (again!), but this time the wood industry stands to gain directly from the Government’s endeavours. While PM Jacinda trumpeted the fact that 99 percent of New Zealand’s wood and paper trade to China would have preferential access, 98 percent of our trade already enjoyed that status under the original FTA. Nevertheless, the gradual elimination of tariffs on 12 additional wood and paper exports worth $36 million a year is a step in the right direction.

Meanwhile, in “the horse has bolted … or not” department, forest owners are saying the extent of overseas investment in forestry this year is grossly exaggerated. They say the calls on the government to restrict conversions of farms to forestry are dangerously jeopardising the fight against climate change and New Zealand’s hope of achieving its greenhouse gas emission targets.

Moving to markets this month’s report from Champion Freight shows total log export values to China to the end of September were still up 9 percent year-on-year contributing to overall log exports growing 2 percent across all markets, as all other market sales dropped except China and India over the period.

Being November, next week our events team is in Melbourne for the ForestTECH Conference series. The following week we host it again in Rotorua. Then, in March 2020, the series continues in Vancouver – the 2020 ForestTECHX 2020 Conference for Canadian and American forest managers. Registrations and programmes are available online for the complete conference series.

We end today’s issue with more good wood news – this time for mass timber in commercial building. The Government has committed to a strong regional presence for Te Uru Rakau (Forestry New Zealand), with the construction of a new Forestry Hub in Rotorua announced by Forestry Minister Shane Jones on Friday.

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WPMA quantifies trade gain potential

The Chair of the Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association of New Zealand (WPMA), Mr Brian Stanley, welcomes the announcement that tariff reductions have been won for NZ’s wood manufacturing sector under the China-NZ Free Trade Agreement Upgrade.

“I would like to thank the Prime Minister, Trade Minister Parker and Forestry Minister Jones for pushing the case for NZ’s wood industry to the top of the agenda in the recent FTA negotiations”, said Mr Stanley.

“MFAT trade officials are to be congratulated on gaining tariff concessions for the NZ wood industry in the protected Chinese market. I know that this has been a very hard-won battle that will see $2 million of savings on 15 export product lines in a $36 million annual trade. Whilst these may not be huge figures in terms of the overall export of NZ wood products to the world the fact remains that NZ was able to make significant inroads on market access where initially there was no go”.

As tariffs tumble Mr Stanley urges the attention of government now turn to defeating other insidious trade barriers, particularly overseas manufacturing subsidies. These continue to proliferate around the world, give unfair advantage to our competitors and stifle investment in NZ industry.

“I’m sure if we confront these with the same skill and mettle displayed in our fight against tariff barriers then this can only further benefit NZ’s wood manufacturing sector together with the jobs and communities it supports,” concludes Mr Stanley.

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China trade agreement good for NZ

China trade upgrade win despite modest gains - An upgraded free trade deal with China may not contain all that New Zealand politicians and officials had hoped for - but that progress has been made in the current global environment is a win for the Government

After months of speculation about a deteriorating relationship with one of the world’s superpowers, the news of a successful end to trade talks may have come as a relief to the Government - not that David Parker saw it that way.

“Relief? Not really relief, I think it’s celebration really,” the Trade and Export Growth Minister told Newsroom of the agreement in substance on an upgraded China-New Zealand FTA.

As revealed by Newsroom last week, two and a half years of negotiations have finally resulted in a deal that both sides are happy with. Predictably, there are modest wins for market access. Ardern trumpeted the fact that 99 percent of New Zealand’s wood and paper trade to China would have preferential access, but 98 percent of our trade already enjoyed that status under the original FTA.

Nevertheless, the gradual elimination of tariffs on 12 additional wood and paper exports worth $36 million a year is not to be sniffed at.

The tariff safeguards on dairy exports remain untouched, which will disappoint the dairy sector but is the result of a necessary compromise of short-term pain for long-term gain.

Australia’s 2015 trade deal with China contains lower but permanent safeguard thresholds, while New Zealand’s more stringent restrictions will lift entirely by 2024.

Industry groups like DCANZ had accepted the longer-term superiority of New Zealand’s arrangement but warned of a growing disadvantage with Australian exporters until then.

With little leverage to get the best of both worlds, the more cautious route is, on balance, probably the best.

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Source: Newsroom

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Forest owners: Conversions exaggerated

Calls to ban farm conversions to forestry ‘make no sense and are dangerously jeopardising fight against climate change’ - Forest owners are saying the extent of overseas investment in forestry this year is grossly exaggerated. They say the calls on the government to restrict conversions of farms to forestry are dangerously jeopardising the fight against climate change and New Zealand’s hope of achieving its greenhouse gas emission targets.

Forest Owners Association President Peter Weir, says there is no doubt that the rate of planting forests on poorer quality farmland is increasing. But he says most of the planting is driven by higher returns from forests than by hill country farming and the planting is being done by New Zealand land owners and not overseas investors.

“Anyone can go to the Overseas Investment Office website and see the approvals for actual purchases of New Zealand farmland for planting. The total over the past year is a mere 8,600 hectares. So, claims that the rules for overseas investment in farms for forest planting are ‘totally out of control’ are quite misleading.”

“That 8,600 hectares represents only one-thousandth of the total land in sheep and beef farming for New Zealand. It’s hardly a takeover as some of the news media are trying to pretend.”

“The value of that land is a fraction of the overseas investment approved in the dairy industry over the past year. If you look at dairy company sales with Westland Dairy, New Zealand New Milk and Mataura Valley Milk, then you can see foreign investment in our dairy industry in 2019 is nearly four times greater than the forestry total, but without exciting anywhere near the same media obsession,” Peter Weir says.

He says without overseas investment in forestry over the past few years there would hardly be a forest industry worth talking about.

“It was mostly investors from overseas who were prepared to wait a number of years for their investment to mature and see the trees harvested.”

“But that appears to have changed recently. Farmers are getting out of the price doldrums of wool growing and the modest returns for meat. For some farmers the economics of sheep and beef production clearly does not add up over the long term.”

Peter Weir says carbon credits also play a part in farmer decisions.

‘The carbon credits are currently a modest $25 dollars a tonne. But farmers are apprehensive about the costs of complying with freshwater reform and the adjustment which will be necessary to reduce farm greenhouse gas emissions under the terms which have recently been agreed to with the government.”

“New Zealand has tough greenhouse gas emission targets, and to meet them, large areas of farmland will have to be planted in trees to sequester carbon from the atmosphere.”

“If the government gets spooked into restricting planting trees because of some ill- informed views on the extent of overseas investment, and some equally illusory notions that forestry employs fewer workers, then it would be a step backwards and dangerously jeopardise our ability as a nation to meet emissions targets.

Source: Scoop news

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Log export update

Thanks to the Champion Freight team here is graphic summary of the latest monthly update for export log markets.

Log export markets - This week we've got our monthly update from the Champion Freight team.

The chart shows total log export values to China year-on-year to the end of September were up 9 percent, contributing to overall log exports growing 2 percent across all markets. Logs to India, our second largest log market, grew 4 percent in September y-o-y.

To the end of September, China shipments month-on-month were down 11 percent and overall log exports down 14 percent. Logs to India decreased 48 percent month-on-month in September.

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Tigercat introduce power clam grapple

The new Tigercat power clam grapple series is here. Designed for use on the 875 and 880D loggers, the three models – PC08, PC10 and PC12 – are sized for load capacities of 0.8 m², 0.9 m² and 1,1 m².

Using fatigue resistant welded construction, Tigercat power clam grapples feature durable box-style tongs fabricated from high strength steel. All weld-on tine tips are made from abrasion-resistant steel and can be replaced. The jaw profile rolls the logs into the grapple to quickly achieve a full load capacity. The profile is also designed to grip a single 150 mm (6 in) diameter stem when completely closed.

The power clam is available with an optional powered outrigger that provides exceptional control of various sized trees. It has a tapered tong profile and a large 45-degree sweep and is controlled by a cylinder with the same rod and bore diameters as the jaw cylinders.

Routing the hoses over the boom and under the connecting pin maximizes boom hose protection. The unique cylinder guard design allows easy hose access and reduces the need for large covers.

A multi-section proportional control valve provides generous flow and enhanced timing as spools can be independently tuned. The fixed displacement piston motor is coupled with a two-stage planetary gearbox that provides ample rotational speed and torque. A Tigercat designed crossover relief valve, directly bolted to the piston motor, features a float setting and provides charged make-up oil for smoother control, and to prevent jerky stops.

Large covers can be removed to easily service all hydraulic components. The main control valve is situated for easy service access to both sides. A sealed electrical box keeps all wiring connections well protected from the elements.

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New Rotorua Forestry Hub for Te Uru Rakau

The Government has committed to a strong regional presence for Te Uru Rakau (Forestry New Zealand), with the construction of a new Forestry Hub in Rotorua announced by Forestry Minister Shane Jones on Friday.

Speaking at a blessing ceremony at the site of the new building, Scion’s Rotorua campus, Minister Jones said the Forestry Hub, which will be shared with the Department of Conservation, will ultimately house some 50 Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) staff, with 25 of those from Te Uru Rakau.

“In order for us to strengthen and grow the New Zealand forestry sector, it is important that we build a strong and dedicated regional presence, as was outlined in the Coalition Agreement,” Shane Jones said.

Te Uru Rakau is currently scaling up to support the delivery of the government's forestry goals.

“The current office, also located on Scion’s Rotorua campus, has been assessed as no longer fit for purpose and an alternative solution was required to accommodate the growing number of regional staff.

“The purpose-built facility will be constructed with sustainable construction techniques, including using New Zealand grown timber for both the structural and visible parts of the building. A new build provides an opportunity to demonstrate the value of wood for building and will show case the opportunity to use timber grown and manufactured in New Zealand more extensively.”

“Using New Zealand-engineered timber will deliver a range of benefits – social, environmental and regional – and see the creation of jobs and renewed investment in forestry, processing, manufacturing, construction, and prefabrication.”

“This ties in nicely with the Rotorua Lakes District Council’s Wood First policy which encourages the use of wood products to support the district's vital wood industry. So we’re right at home here,” Minister Jones said.

The Forestry Hub will be built from a combination of engineered timber columns, posts, portals and trusses, and the external envelope will feature a selection of timber elements that will mimic the surrounding natural environment.

Aside from its natural beauty, engineered timber provides a very strong, low carbon alternative to steel and concrete. It is also relatively light and has outstanding earthquake and fire resilience. The building is expected to be completed by late 2020.

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Primary sector focus on smart data

Is the primary sector thriving on smart data? - The adoption of digital technologies is one of the key challenges facing the primary sector. The rapid development of AI, machine vision, automation and robotic technologies has enabled New Zealand agritech companies to develop solutions that were not possible even five years ago. While leading producers are investing in this opportunity, there are many more smaller businesses that could certainly benefit as well.

For the last 8 years, agritech leaders, tech developers, large producers and early adopters have met at the annual MobileTECH Ag conference. This leading agritech event is running next year on the 7-8 April 2020 in Rotorua, New Zealand.

“MobileTECH Ag showcases new, innovative and emerging digital technologies relevant to our agricultural, horticultural and forestry industries,” said Ken Wilson, the Event Director. “The theme for MobileTECH Ag 2020 is ‘thriving on smart data’. While data has always been important to farmers and growers, the ability to automatically capture, analyze and act on an endless stream of business data is, potentially, transformative,” said Mr Wilson.

The agritech community is continuing to grow from strength to strength. The NZ Government estimates that agritech goods exports are worth $1.4 billion annually. In just over a year, the sector has seen the launch of a dedicated membership grouping, Agritech New Zealand and the Government’s cross-agency agritech taskforce.

Agritech New Zealand has been critical in giving the agritech sector a strong voice and opening up new international markets for NZ companies. The cross-agency taskforce is currently developing a plan to transform the agritech sector by creating a coordinated supporting ecosystem, drive innovation and increase technology adoption by the sector. “Leaders from both groups will be presenting at MobileTECH Ag 2020,” said Mr Wilson. “It is exciting to see the agritech sector grow and have an opportunity to promote industry collaboration and technology development”.

Details on MobileTECH Ag 2020 programme including the programme are now available. This industry-leading tech conference runs on 7-8 April 2020 in Rotorua, New Zealand. Further details can be found on the event website, www.mobiletech.events.

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BREAKING News - Trade deal good for timber exports

China Free Trade upgrade will assist New Zealand processed timber exports - The Forest Owners Association says this week's announcement of phased reduction of tariffs for wood and paper exports to China will assist in a long term realigning of New Zealand exports into more further processed timber products.

Association Chief Executive David Rhodes says Trade Minister, David Parker, has done a great job of removing much of the remaining obstacles for the processed timber export trade into China.

“It shows the long-term value of industry working with government as well, with a good foundation laid down by a major industry delegation to China in September last year with Forestry Minister Shane Jones.”

“Our industry is hugely reliant on China. Our processed timber exports there are worth $509 million a year, but that value could be a whole lot more, if it were not for those residual tariffs discouraging exporters. While the tariff removal on current exports is relatively small, it’s the potential for growth without the tariffs which is significant.”

“Two of our next two major export markets, Australia and Japan, are dominated by further processed exports. Paper and paperboard for Australia and wood panels for Japan,” David Rhodes says.

“It would be some time before China becomes a similar market for us, but the Chinese government has given a clear signal to New Zealand that it has no issue with processors in New Zealand expanding their exports to China and adding another 12 categories to the 48 already under reduction under the original 2008 FTA Agreement.

“We’d like to see tariffs taken off the final one percent of the export trade, but I’m sure the momentum is in that direction and it is only a matter of time before all the tariffs are gone.”

“More processing in New Zealand will create more jobs and give processors more confidence they have market access with fewer tariffs.”
Source: Scoop news

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Wood for new bandage with healing properties

A skin dressing made from tree bark which could transform treatment of wounds and reduce scarring
• The tree-based bandage called FibDex contains fibres extracted from birch trees
• The bandages provide a ‘scaffold’ on to which healthy new skin cells can grow

A bandage made from bark could transform the treatment of wounds. The soft dressing contains tiny fibres extracted from birch trees grown in Finland which are strong enough to provide a ‘scaffold’ on to which healthy new skin cells can grow.

They are also super-absorbent so can mop up moisture from a wound that might otherwise allow bacteria to grow, leading to an infection.

Called FibDex, the tree-based bandage is the first of its kind to be approved for use in the UK. Research shows just one plaster is enough to help difficult wounds heal, whereas most dressings have to be changed every few days. The wood fibres also produced less scarring and greater skin elasticity — a sign of better healing — than some conventional dressings.

The FibDex bandage is made from nanofibrillar cellulose — tiny strands of fibre, each smaller than a human hair — extracted from silver birch trees.

Birch tree extract has been used for centuries as a remedy for wounds. It also releases a chemical, called betulin, which stimulates the growth of healthy new skin cells to repair damage. So far the bandage, developed by researchers from Helsinki University and surgeons from Helsinki Burn Centre, has been tested on burns patients who needed major skin grafts. First a large patch of the patient’s healthy skin — at least 6in (15cm) by 2in (5cm) — was removed from another part of the body and grafted on to the burned area.

This leaves a sizeable wound where the skin has been taken from — normally this is covered in a dressing that needs changing every few days.

typically wounds occur on the foot or lower leg, as a result of circulation problems arising from diabetes. Starved of the oxygen they need to heal, these ulcers can form deep, open wounds that can take years to heal.

In their search for new ways to improve the healing process, scientists have turned their attention to wood — partly because it’s biocompatible, which means it does not cause the body’s immune system to react. It is also a rich source of cellulose, a fibrous material used for decades in the production of clothing, paper, plastics and even explosives — the benefit for treating wounds is its absorbency.

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Almost finally... can't afford a house?

If you can't afford to buy a house, just print one instead!

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Buy and Sell

... and finally ... last, last word on RWC

... did England use up all of their tactical and physical energy beating the ABs? Looked like they just didn't have enough left in the tank on Saturday night in Yokohama.

That's all for this week's wood news.

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John Stulen
Innovatek Limited
PO Box 1230
Rotorua, New Zealand
Mob: +64 27 275 8011
Web: www.woodweek.com

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