The New Zealand kiwifruit industry is set to benefit significantly from the signing of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) this week, according to Zespri.
The kiwifruit marketer said the trade deal would create significant value for the industry by eliminating tariffs on kiwifruit exports into all 11 Asia-Pacific signatory nations.
The other countries in the agreement – Brunei, Chile, Singapore, Australia, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia, Mexico and Canada – either do not have tariffs on kiwifruit, have existing free trade agreements with NZ or do not currently import NZ kiwifruit.
“We see the benefits most clearly in Japan, where New Zealand kiwifruit growers paid over NZ$26m (US$18.9m) in tariffs last season. This tariff relief will means savings for our growers and benefits for Japanese consumers by supporting our competitiveness against other fruit in market,” said chief executive Dan Mathieson.
Japan has been one of Zespri’s top markets for volume and value over two decades and annual sales volumes to Japan are expected to increase by around 25 per cent over the next five years.
Despite challenging market conditions, Zespri said it had grown sales in Japan by around one-third over the past three seasons, reaching NZ$514m (US$374m) in the 2016/17 campaign.
The marketer is on track to more than double global sales to NZ$4.5bn (US$3.27bn) by 2025 as production continues to increase to meet rising global demand.
Mathieson noted that New Zealand’s economy is underpinned by exports and trade agreements are critical to securing the company’s ongoing access and competitiveness around the world.
“The kiwifruit industry accounts for around 18,000 fulltime and seasonal jobs and a recent report from the University of Waikato forecasts another 29,000 new jobs in our industry by 2030 in New Zealand – these trade agreements underpin prosperity in rural New Zealand,” he stated.
“We congratulate the government on successfully concluding this important trade agreement and acknowledge the commitment and dedication of MFAT and MPI trade officials and previous Ministers over the years.”