Hodgman reassures Ta Ann customers

TA ANN Tasmania is confident its Japanese customers have been reassured by a visit from new Premier Will Hodgman.

Returning home yesterday Mr Hodgman declared his week-long trip to Asia a success, including meetings with Ta Ann customers to explain the government's new forestry policy.

Mr Hodgman said they were not concerned about the Liberals' plans to tear up the forestry peace deal and open up 400,000 hectares of forests to logging that were previously earmarked for protection.

``Until such time as that becomes available then importantly the Japanese customers have the opportunity to access wood as they currently do from non-contentious forests,'' Mr Hodgman said.

``We'll see what happens in six years' time.''

Ta Ann executive director Evan Rolley said it was important for customers to hear directly from the new leader.

``Customers of Tasmanian hardwood high value products were assured that the new state government was confident and supportive of Forestry Tasmania making progress to achieve Forest Stewardship Certification, which the Japanese customers strongly appreciate,'' Mr Rolley said. 

Opposition Leader Bryan Green accused Mr Hodgman of relying on the outcomes of the forestry peace deal to reassure customers, while telling Tasmanians something different. 

``In Tasmania he refuses to meet with the ENGOs, and yet he is claiming to have their support in Japan, '' Mr Green said. 

Mr Green also questioned the value of the trip. 

``It seems to me at this stage I've heard nothing positive coming out of the trip. I guess we'll have to wait and see.''

Mr Hodgman has insisted his $37,000 trip was worth it, after returning home with no concrete benefits. 

``We have made very important contacts with key executives in China and Japan and there were also senior executives from Australia who have participated in this very rare experience,'' Mr Hodgman said.

``I'm very confident that we will see a much greater interest in our state.''

Mr Hodgman also became the first Tasmanian premier to meet the Chinese President and he is hopeful President Xi will visit the state later in the year.

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