NZ New Zealand Zespri kiwifruit loading reefer ship port Tauranga

Zespri International plans to export greater volumes to the UK thanks to the latest FTA

New Zealand kiwifruit marketer Zespri International has welcomed the freshly-minted free trade deal between the UK and New Zealand, finalised yesterday (28 February), and looks forward to exporting greater volumes of its fruit to Britain as a result.

Commenting on Twitter, the group said: “We’re really pleased to see the NZ-UK free trade agreement signed and look forward to the removal of the tariff on New Zealand fruit into the UK market.”

Zespri International added that it was excited by the opportunities the FTA presents as “we look to make more of our fruit available to health-conscious consumers in the UK”.

As a result of the deal, first agreed in principle last October, UK tariffs of 8 per cent on kiwifruit and onions will be eliminated immediately, of which New Zealand currently exports NZ$4.4m (£2.2m) and NZ$8m (£4m) respectively.

Meanwhile, tariffs on New Zealand apples will be eliminated over three years with a 20,000 tonne duty-free off-season quota (January-June) under the deal. Duty-free access will be granted year-round after this period.

The New Zealand apple industry currently exports NZ$63.6m (£32.1m) worth of fruit to the UK with a seasonal tariff of up to 8 per cent.

Industry body New Zealand Apples and Pears (NZAPI) had previously welcomed the FTA which also reduces the tariffs on pears to zero.

“The United Kingdom is a very important market for our apples and pears, regularly featuring in the top two or three markets by volume. Having a comprehensive FTA and the phasing out of tariffs will ensure that our New Zealand growers will be able to continue to provide UK consumers with the opportunity to experience the unique taste and quality of New Zealand apples and pears in a more welcoming trade setting,” said former NZAPI chief executive, Alan Pollard.