11 Jul 2013

Exporters praise NZ deal with Taiwan

8:28 pm on 11 July 2013

Key exporters are praising what they say is New Zealand's diplomatic finesse in securing a trade deal with Taiwan - without offending China.

China views Taiwan as a breakaway province and New Zealand has no government relations with Taiwan.

But using private sector negotiators, New Zealand has achieved immediate elimination of tariffs on over 70% of exports to Taiwan and total removal of tariffs over time.

The Government also refrained from using the term 'Taiwan' in favour of the Beijing-favoured 'Chinese Taipei'.

Exporters of deer velvet, seafood and kiwifruit have welcomed the deal, which they say will greatly assist their exports. They said a difficult political situation has been handled well.

Simon Limmer, a senior executive at kiwifruit marketer Zespri, said on Thursday the tariff reduction would shave a lot of money off its costs.

"The Taiwanese are fantastic, discerning consumers of fruit. Taiwan represents over $100 million in market sales. It's about $70 million of export earnings, so that equates today to about just under $15 million of tariff paid."

The Government said it is the first such triangular arrangement for any western nation dealing with both China and Taiwan.