Taiwan has eliminated its tariff on New Zealand cherries with effect from 1 December, following a comprehensive trade deal between the two countries in July this year.
The tariff, which had previously stood at 7.5 per cent, was announced earlier than expected, with many in the industry believing it would not come into effect until 2014.
In a media release, chief executive of Summerfruit NZ Marie Dawkins lauded the news as a great result for cherry growers looking to export to Taiwan this season.
“Taiwan is the most important market for New Zealand cherries with nearly 600,000kg exported there for the 2012/13 season, or approximately 41 per cent of all cherry exports,” she said.
“When you see that the next biggest market for New Zealand cherries is Thailand with 17 per cent, you begin to understand the significance of the Taiwanese market.”
The first cherry shipments under the new eliminated tariff rate are set to be exported within days of the agreement coming into effect.
Dawkins added that while the New Zealand cherry season is relatively short, growers are ideally placed to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the eliminated tariff rate.
“Harvest of the first Marlborough cherries for export is about to begin and the season continues with the Central Otago harvest expected to finish by mid-February next year,” she said.
Chairman of the Summerfruit Exporters Committee Dean Astill also welcomed the change, stating that he felt it would help promote New Zealand cherries in Taiwan.