22 Nov 2013

Early tariff cuts put a cherry on top of Christmas

2:38 pm on 22 November 2013

Santa's come early for some farmers as provisions of the free trade agreement with Taiwan kick off earlier than expected.

Horticulture Export Authority chief executive Simon Hegarty says that as of 1 December tariffs on some key fruit and vegetables applied by Taiwan will either come off completely or be significantly reduced.

"It's a very good outcome in terms of the timeframes," says Mr Hegarty. "We're just about to start our export season, kicking off with cherries".

As of December the 20% tariff currently applied to apples will dissapear as will the 7.4% tariff on cherries.

More than 40% of all New Zealand's exported cherries are sent to Taiwan.

And kiwifruit's 20% tariff will start a gradual three year decline - and will be gone by December 1, 2016.

Sheep and beef farmers will also see better returns from Taiwan - it's tariffs on beef will be gone by 2015 and sheepmeat by 2017.

In 2012, New Zealand exported $208 million of sheep and beef to Taiwan and paid $18 million in tariffs.