Securing trade agreements with key markets in Asia, America and Europe are a priority for New Zealand’s horticultural sector, according to Mike Chapman, chief executive of industry body Horticulture New Zealand.
In a release issued late last week, Chapman said the country’s horticultural exports had increased by 40 per cent from June 2014 to 2016, and were currently valued at around NZ$3.4bn annually.
However, if the sector is to continue playing a role in supporting the New Zealand economy, more free trade agreements would be required to deliver improved quarantine market access and address non-tariff barriers.
“Our trade policy needs to develop in accordance with sometimes unexpected global changes such as the UK leaving the European Union, as well as protectionist measures developing in some markets,” Chapman explained. “We would like to see free trade agreements with the United Kingdom, European Union, Japan and the United States.”
Kiwifruit and apples have long been the leading lights for New Zealand’s horticulture exports. However, Chapman said other categories are gaining significant traction in international makets, and would continue to do so providing trade conditions remain conducive.
“We are seeing growth in avocados, potatoes, onions, cherries and passionfruit as well,” Chapman noted. “Horticulture is now a NZ$5.4bn industry, but for us to continue to grow, we need market access and help for small to medium sized businesses (SMEs).
“The established exporters have been well served by government but it is now time to focus on the emerging and SME exporters to translate ‘market access to market success’ and we look forward to working with the government, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Ministry for Primary Industries to help these businesses.”