2 Dec 2013

Scrapping of Taipei tariff big boost for cherry exports

1:50 pm on 2 December 2013

New Zealand's biggest overseas cherry market, Chinese Taipei, dumped its tariffs on that and a range of other products on Sunday, just in time for the start of the cherry export season.

Duties on milk powder, cheese, butter, apples, and wine exports were also eliminated on Sunday, as the Economic Cooperation Agreement between New Zealand and the Customs Territory of Taipei, which includes Taiwan, took effect.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says the agreement is the first Chinese Taipei has signed with an OECD country, and it gives New Zealand immediate savings of almost $40 million on the cost of exporting to that market, with more to come.

He says tariffs on beef will be removed in two years and those on kiwifruit in three.

Mr Guy says tariffs will be completely eliminated from all exports in a staged programme, leading to savings of almost double the current figure.

He visited one of Marlborough's cherry growers and exporters, Cherryland on Sunday.

Picking and packing for the cherry season has just begun in that region, and Cherryland's owner Paul Kinzett said the tariff removal is a great boost for the trade.

"There's been a 7.5% tariff into the Taiwanese market and the removal of that - it's all got to be plus for the cherry industry."

He says a lot of cherries are exported to Taiwan and every little bit helps, especially when the dollar is so strong.

Mr Kinzett says Cherryland has already sent its first two consigments of the season to South Korea and is hoping to get the first shipment to Taipei away this week.

He says however, that rain last week has caused some disruption after the early start.

He says there has been some fruit damage caused by recent rain, but overall with the forecast looking good it's set to be a good crop.