16 Nov 2010

Textile industry hopes Russia deal will boost exports

2:09 pm on 16 November 2010

New Zealand's textiles industry says a free trade agreement with Russia will give impetus to a resurgence in wool exports.

The Government will start formal negotiations next year on a trade agreement with Russia and its proposed partners in a customs union, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

New Zealand's biggest exports to Russia are dairy products, mainly butter and cheese. However, it also used to send a lot of wool.

The textiles industry is hoping to rebuild the trade, focusing on finished, mainly woollen products.

It has had a positive response to a trade delegation that went to Russia earlier this year.

Textiles New Zealand chief executive Elizabeth Tennet says a free trade agreement would help, by breaking down some of the price barriers.

Ms Tennet says the seven textile and clothing companies that took part in the trade delegation, including two selling blended merino wool-possum fibre products, have all had orders from Russia as a result.