NZ trade tariff costs down by a quarter since 2012
Horticulture New Zealand (HortNZ) said a report released yesterday showed tariffs imposed by other countries on its products now cost the island nation's 5000 commercial growers an average of NZ$36,000 (US$28,000) each - a decrease of NZ$8,000 (US$6,200) on the 2012 figures.
The study said fruit and vegetable exporters paid an estimated NZ$181 million (US$141 million) in tariffs to importing countries, a reduction of 25% from 2012.
At the same time export earnings increased by 4%, although the number of producers growing for export has reduced since 2012.
The New Zealand Horticulture Export Authority (HEA) and HortNZ commission the report 'New Zealand Horticulture – Barriers to Our Export Trade' every two years, with funding support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
The report is prepared by Wellington-based company Market Access Solutionz and is used extensively by both industry and government agencies for monitoring and negotiating international trade access and helping exporters to develop new markets.
About 60% of New Zealand's total horticultural production of fruit and vegetables is exported, valued at just over NZ$2.4 billion (US$1.87 billion).
"With New Zealand's free trade agreements being predominantly in the Asian region where high tariffs are common, this progress on tariff reduction enhances the great opportunities for developing trade in Asian countries," HortNZ chief executive Peter Silcock said.
"That's why we need to continue our efforts on developing and signing free trade agreements."
As in the previous 2010 and 2012 editions, there is a notable trend for many importing countries to exploit the use of non-tariff trade barriers (NTBs) in the form of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) issues and other technical compliance barriers, a release said.
"This NTB threat remains a concern to our horticulture export sectors. Unfortunately, reality tells us a reasoned case backed by sound science rarely prevails when up against politically motivated decision making," HEA chief executive Simon Hegarty said.
"It is important that exporters and Government jointly recognise this risk to their business and appropriately resource it to deal with the importing country requirements."
This report does not calculate the SPS costs of not being able to access a particular market. HortNZ and HEA are confident these costs are greater than the costs of tariffs calculated in this report.
"Technical barrier costs faced by our exporters include compliance with quota restrictions, grade standards, fumigation requirements, additional product testing, plus labelling and packaging rules. Food security and self-sufficiency are emotive topics and vulnerable to political interference," Hegarty said.
The EU is New Zealand's largest export market, worth NZ$547 million (US$426 million), followed by Australia at NZ$474 million (US$369 million), and Japan with NZ$405 million (NZ$315 million).