New Zealand’s food and beverage exports to Korea increased 16 per cent to NZ$449m during the first year of the free trade agreement (FTA) between the two nations.
New Zealand trade minister Todd McClay said New Zealand exporters are reaping benefits form the preferential tariff access to Korea as a result of the New Zealand-Korea FTA, which came into force on 20 December 2016.
“There is no doubt this agreement has created jobs and prosperity in our regions,” McClay told members of the Korean and New Zealand business community at a one-year anniversary event celebrating the FTA on 22 November.
Cherries, kiwifruit and avocado exports have all increased in value during the first nine months of the year, as have exports of butter and cheese.
“Exports of New Zealand cherries to Korea, for example, which previously had a tariff of 24 per cent, have more than doubled (221 per cent) to NZ$4.3m between January and the end of September, while New Zealand wine exports rose 28 per cent to NZ$1.9m following the removal of a 15 per cent tariff,” said McClay.
“There has also been significant improvement in export items where tariffs will be removed over time. The value of New Zealand’s substantial kiwifruit exports to Korea have grown 18 per cent so far this year to reach NZ$65m.”
Avocado exports are also up 39 per cent.
“These early results are extremely encouraging and will create more jobs and raise returns, particularly in regional and provincial New Zealand, where the production of these items are concentrated,” McClay said.
“Many exporters can look forward to further improvements to their products’ competitiveness in the Korean market when the third round of tariff cuts under the FTA takes place on 1 January 2017.”
Korea was New Zealand’s sixth largest goods export market, worth NZ$1.5bn in the year ending September 2016.