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WTO Announcement could have big benefits

3 August 2004

WTO Announcement could have big benefits for horticulture

The NZ Horticulture Export Authority, NZ Fruitgrowers Federation, and NZ Vegetable Growers Federation are optimistic that the horticulture industry will see significant benefits from the WTO Doha Round.

“The news of the agreement on a negotiating framework was a good start to the week” says Janet Skilton, Executive Director of the NZ Horticulture Export Authority. “It is our best chance to improve market access to a range of developing markets in the future. We actively support the Government’s efforts on bi-lateral trade negotiations such as those with Thailand but the multilateral approach really has the potential to deliver benefits.”

New Zealand’s horticulture exports are worth around $2.5 billion and go to 105 countries.

“In almost all of these markets there are tariffs on fruit and vegetables, some of them very high such as over 45% on cherries into Korea. Even seemingly small tariffs cost the fruit and vegetable industry a lot of money. For example, the tariff on onions entering the European Union is 9.6% but with over the $80m of product entering this market we are paying in excess of NZ$10m” says Peter Silcock, Chief Executive of NZ Fruitgrowers Federation and NZ Vegetable and Potato Growers Federation. Mr Silcock says “The commitment to “substantial improvements in market access” in the framework gives us optimism for the outcomes of the Round.”

Horticulture exports are less impacted by export subsidies and domestic support than the dairy and meat industries. Ms Skilton says “Tariffs are the big issue for our industry. We also have the advantage of being relatively less contentious than other primary products. Our products generally have a short shelf life. We are a counter-seasonal supplier to the northern hemisphere so we generally don’t compete directly with local products.”

ENDS


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