Korean Free Trade Agreement to benefit growers and farmers

Whakatane news
Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Bill significantly reducing duties and tariffs on Kiwifruit, meat products and forestry for exports to Korea passed its first reading in Parliament this week, East Coast MP Anne Tolley says.

The Tariff (Free Trade Agreement between New Zealand and the Republic of Korea) Amendment Bill is a significant step in implementing the Free Trade Agreement with Korea, signed in March this year.

“The Bay of Plenty grows around 80 per cent of New Zealand’s Kiwifruit, which is our main horticulture export to Korea,” Mrs Tolley says.

“This agreement is a huge opportunity for our region to grow in an area we excel at. New Zealand exporters pay up to $35 million in duties each year and face a 45 per cent tariff on kiwifruit.

“Under the agreement, kiwifruit tariffs will be phased out over five years making a huge difference for our exporters and growers.

“We can also expect to see substantial gains in the export of meat products, with $186 million worth of meat and meat products exported to Korea each year. We also export $503 million in forestry products to Korea, 99 per cent of which will be duty-free within 10 years.

“With a population of 50 million, this agreement opens up a significant natural trading partner in Korea and is an opportunity to grow our presence in the Korean market.

“This agreement will make a huge difference to the Eastern Bay of Plenty, giving our growers, farmers, producers and exporters a competitive advantage in a strong market,” Mrs Tolley says.

Korea is New Zealand’s sixth largest export destination for goods and services. Two way trade totalled $4 billion in the year to June 2014.