New Zealand’s fresh produce export sector is already reaping the rewards of a free trade agreement (FTA) with Taiwan.
To mark the one-year anniversary of the trade pact, New Zealand’s primary industries minister Nathan Guy revealed that overall exports to the Asian nation had increased by NZ$150m (US$117m) over the course of the last 12 months.
The apple industry shaped up as the big winner from the deal, with the value of exports between December 2013 and September 2014 surging 210 per cent to NZ$39m (US$30m), compared to the corresponding period a year earlier. Cherry exports also performed well, rising 18 per cent to NZ$9.8m (us$7.7m). Tariffs on both apples and cherries were immediately eliminated under the terms of the FTA.
New Zealand kiwifruit exports jumped 38 per cent to NZ$70m (US$55m), after single-desk marketer Zespri appointed WLH Trading Co and United Produce as its new Taiwanese importers. The move came after Zespri was forced to terminate its business relationship with all three of its previous Taiwanese distribution partners in February, following claims they had created fraudulent invoices.
Guy said over 69 percent of New Zealand’s exports to Taiwan were now tariff free, representing savings of around NZ$78.4m (US$61.6m) to the country’s suppliers. The FTA will eventually see the complete removal of virtually all tariffs on New Zealand produce exports within the next four years. “This agreement continues to be a great example of how trade deals benefit New Zealand, particularly for growers and producers in the regions,” Guy explained.