14 Nov 2011

Zespri to push for tariff reforms in major Asian markets

6:06 am on 14 November 2011

Zespri, sees the removal of tariffs in one of New Zealand's smaller export markets, Mexico, as a useful gain.

But it is also looking for that sort of break-through in bigger markets.

Mexico is to eliminate its 20% tariff on kiwifruit imports, giving New Zealand equal treatment with competitors such as Chile and the United States.

Zespri says that will save the New Zealand industry $1 million a year, which is helpful at a time when it's battling the PSA vine disease.

Chief executive Lain Jager says Mexico is a developing market and at this stage is 1% - 2% of New Zealand's global kiwifruit business.

But Mr Jager says an opportunity to save $1 million per year in tariffs is an opportunity to open up the market and bring greater value back to New Zealand kiwifruit growers.

He says the focus will be continuing to push for tariff reforms in major Asian markets.

Mr Jager says Korea is very important at over $30 million of tariffs each year.

He says Japan has lower tariffs but it is a big market for New Zealand and it's expressed interest in joining the TPP, so that sort of progress is very positive for the industry.

New Zealand and eight other countries involved in the trans-Pacific partnership negotiations, have agreed on the broad outlines of a free trade agreement.