New Zealand kiwifruit marketer Zespri has welcomed the signing of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), saying it will create “significant value for the industry.”
It says the revised TPP deal – which was signed in Chile on Thursday (March 8) – would eliminate tariffs on kiwifruit exports to all 11 Asia-Pacific signatory nations.
The other countries in the agreement – Brunei, Chile, Singapore, Australia, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia, Mexico and Canada – either do not have tariffs on kiwifruit, have existing free trade agreements with New Zealand or do not currently import New Zealand kiwifruit.
“We see the benefits most clearly in Japan, where New Zealand kiwifruit growers paid over $26 million in tariffs last season,” said Zespri chief executive Dan Mathieson.
“This tariff relief will means savings for our growers and benefits for Japanese consumers by supporting our competitiveness against other fruit in market.”
Japan has been one of Zespri’s top markets for volume and value over two decades and annual sales volumes to Japan are expected to increase around 25% over the next five years.
Zespri has grown sales in Japan by around one-third over the past three seasons in challenging market conditions, with sales of NZ$514 million in the 2016-17 season.
“Our industry is on track to more than double global sales to $4.5 billion by 2025, as we increase production to meet rising global demand for fresh, healthy premium food. The reality is that New Zealand’s economy is underpinned by exports and agreements like this are critical to securing our ongoing access and competitiveness around the world,” Mathieson said.
“The kiwifruit industry accounts for around 18,000 fulltime and seasonal jobs and a recent report from the University of Waikato forecasts another 29,000 new jobs in our industry by 2030 in New Zealand – these trade agreements underpin prosperity in rural New Zealand.
“We congratulate the government on successfully concluding this important trade agreement and acknowledge the commitment and dedication of MFAT and MPI trade officials and previous Ministers over the years.”