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Wools of New Zealand readies for more international growth
Dec '10
The flow of procurement premiums to New Zealand strong wool growers will take a major step forward with the launch of new carpet ranges at two international trade shows in the New Year.

Wools Partners International's partners will be exhibiting new carpet ranges using Wools of New Zealand and Laneve branded wools at Domotex in Germany in January and Surfaces in the United States in February.

Wool Partners International Chief Executive Officer Iain Abercrombie says the new ranges will lead directly to further procurement premiums being offered to growers, in addition to the premiums of 70 cents a kilo already paid to growers who are supplying wool to two British carpet mills.

“The initial offer of procurement premiums has created considerable interest and excitement amongst our accredited growers and encouraged others to register. Going forward, we expect the royalties negotiated in additional contracts with our partners to translate into long term sustainable returns for many more growers.”

Meanwhile, Wools of New Zealand is looking at how its relationships in China can be developed to further boost returns for growers. Currently it is hosting, with other wool industry interests, a delegation of leading manufacturers from China on a fact finding mission in the South Island. The delegation is led by Wools of New Zealand's Country Manager Stephen Tan, who is acknowledged as one of China's leading technical carpet experts.

Wools of New Zealand is spending $4 million a year principally in Europe, the United States and China to provide quality assurance, marketing and technical support to manufacturers and retailers willing to engage in partner programmes.

“This sum far exceeds the commitment of all other wool exporters and industry organisations. Wools of New Zealand's budget has a clear focus that is dedicated to positioning New Zealand strong wool as a luxury fibre, ethically produced in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner,” Mr Abercrombie says.

“We are willing to support other programmes, such as the Wool Project launched in Britain by the Prince of Wales, if they can demonstrate that they too can generate additional premiums for New Zealand growers in a cost effective way.”

Wools of New Zealand's presence in China dates back to 1992. It has worked closely with the development of the machine carpet industry there and assisted other New Zealand exporters to establish relationships with manufacturers.

“Wools of New Zealand is now looking to leverage the long relationships it has with its partners in China to create further value that can be returned to growers,” Mr Abercrombie says.

“We are delighted to host our partners from China and show them how wool is produced, graded and processed for export.”

“Manufacturers in China are primarily focused on the domestic market and in particular the demand from wealthy consumers for distinctive, quality carpets and furnishings. This is also being mirrored in hotels and commercial premises where wool carpets meet the criteria for design, performance and environmental values.”

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