Trip to woo Asian markets

LESS than a month into the job, Will Hodgman will embark on his first overseas trip as Premier as he attempts to convince Asian markets to back Tasmanian timber products.

Mr Hodgman has confirmed he will join Prime Minister Tony Abbott on the largest ever Commonwealth-sponsored trade delegation in early April. 

The newly elected Liberal state government plans to tear up the forestry peace deal which will cost timber companies trying to sell Tasmanian products the unprecedented support of environment groups.

Sending a strong message that the new government supported the forestry industry was a key priority, Premier-elect Will Hodgman said yesterday.  

``Part of our plan is to provide consistent and coherent government support for the industry and to provide assurances to customers that our product is world class, that we are very environmentally aware and conscious,'' Mr Hodgman said. 

``We'll communicate that in various ways, but I'm certainly not adverse to the notion of leading that government support including in those customers' offices.'' 

Details such as the duration of the trip, cost and whether the state or Commonwealth will pick up the tab are yet to be finalised. 

Mr Abbott plans to go to China, Japan and South Korea and it is understood Mr Hodgman will at least attend the Japan leg where the bulk of timber veneer processor Ta Ann Tasmania's customers are based. 

Mr Hodgman, deputy Liberal leader Jeremy Rockliff and incoming minister Peter Gutwein will today meet with timber industry representatives including Terry Edwards of Forest Industries Association of Tasmania, the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association and the Tasmanian Sawmillers Association. 

It is two years since Mr Hodgman accompanied then deputy premier Bryan Green on a joint Labor-Liberal trade mission focused on forestry. 

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