Zespri chief executive Lain Jager has highlighted the need for New Zealand to broker a free trade agreement with South Korea.
Speaking at the group’s annual meeting last Thursday, Jager said New Zealand was the only country exporting kiwifruit to Korea that did not receive some form of tariff relief.
Tariffs on New Zealand kiwifruit were 37 per cent higher than those on Chilean fruit, the New Zealand Herald has reported. So far this year Chile has increased exports to Korea by 77 per cent.
“New Zealand kiwifruit growers paid tariffs of NZ$39.3m (US$31m) in Korea last year - over NZ$14,500 for every grower," Jager said.
Chilean fruit has also gained from a ruling last November by the Korean Fair Trade commission that Zespri wrongly sought favourable positioning for its products at major retail chains there.
The Commission found Zespri arranged for Korea’s largest retailer E-Mart not to stock cheaper Chilean kiwifruit. The group also established a similar deal with the country’s third-largest retailer.