NZ offers India support to sweeten apple tariff cut talks

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NZ offers India support to sweeten apple tariff cut talks

The New Zealand apple industry is in discussions with its Indian counterparts to assist growers in the South Asian country, as part of negotiations to reduce existing trade barriers. manzanas_41942392 panorama

Pipfruit New Zealand CEO Alan Pollard told the current tariff in India was 50%, so if this were reduced it would clearly mean improved returns for his country's exporters and growers.

"It would also mean an opportunity to plan and manage, under more welcoming trade conditions, for an increase in exports to that country during the time of year when the Indian crop is not available for domestic consumption," he said.

"No other country is in the unique position of having non-competing varieties and being entirely counter seasonal to India’s domestic supply, thereby offering no competitive risk or threat to local production."

He emphasized the program was not about providing technical assistance, but was a partnership between the two industries to exchange ideas, techniques and culture, with the potential to be "transformational".

"The New Zealand apple industry has had a relationship with the Indian industry since the mid 1990s, considerably earlier than when the first discussions over a free trade agreement between our two countries commenced.

"And New Zealand’s relationship with India extends beyond trade to include close political ties and sporting rivalry.

"More recently, as the free trade agreement discussions have progressed, we have had conversations with the Indian industry and officials around how we can work together, under a more welcoming trade relationship, for the benefit of both industries."

He said the structure of the program was yet to be determined but would require a "significant investment" in people, time and resources from both sides.

"The Indian growers are incredibly resilient people. While they grow their fruit in a beautiful area of northern India on the lower slopes of the Himalayas, they face challenges from the terrain, climate, pests and disease and predators.

"And once they harvest their fruit they face difficulties with a limited cool chain and transportation challenges.

"New Zealand has successfully implemented strategies and practices in a number of these areas, but most importantly we are talking with their state government and industry to collectively determine what the priorities for cooperation should be."

Pollard said these kind of comprehensive trade agreements took time, but he understood that very good progress had just been made in the ninth round of discussions between the two nations.

"We are continuing with our discussions with the Indian industry and State government, and will be taking a delegation of our growers up to the region at the end of August.

"There are a number of things that we can progress in the interim, but the comprehensive cooperation agreement will only be able to be implemented under a favourable and welcoming free trade agreement."


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