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FTA with China opens opportunities for seafood

Free Trade Agreement with China opens opportunities for seafood industry

7 April 2008

The signing of a FTA (free trade agreement) with China today will create further market development opportunities for the New Zealand seafood industry, says New Zealand Seafood Industry Council’s general manager of trade, Alastair Macfarlane.

“The ability to trade more freely and actively with China is welcome. China takes close to 10 percent of NZ seafood exports by value, which was around NZ$117 million in 2007. This is an important market for us,” Mr Macfarlane said.

When you include exports of seafood to Hong Kong, including live rock lobster, that total exports figure is over NZ$250 million, he said.

New Zealand’s 2007 seafood exports to China:

Hoki NZ$ 22 million

Squid NZ$15 million

Warehou species NZ$9 million

Deep Sea Dories NZ$8 million

Southern Blue Whiting NZ$7 million

Orange Roughy NZ$6 million

Jack Mackerel NZ$6 million

Fish Meal NZ$24 million

New Zealand’s 2007 seafood to Hong Kong:

Rock Lobster NZ$107 million

Paua NZ$31 million

Other seafood NZ$35 million

A large proportion of seafood exports to Hong Kong is consumed in China, particularly Rock Lobster and Paua (as canned abalone). When sales to China through Hong Kong added to direct exports to China make it one of the top three markets for New Zealand seafood exports, alongside the European Union and Australia, Mr Macfarlane says.

“China has become an important provider of seafood processing services to New Zealand seafood companies. A large proportion of the finfish and squid exported to China is further processed there and re-exported to markets in North America, Japan and Europe.”

Seafood exports to China for consumption in China has attracted tariffs of over 10 percent. The FTA will lead to removal of those tariffs over time. High value live and chilled products will expand accordingly.

“Iwi are significant stakeholder in the New Zealand seafood industry,” Mr Macfarland said, “and the FTA will provide significant benefit to Iwi both directly as a market for fish catches arising from quota owned by Iwi, and through Iwi shareholdings in seafood.”

China is also the leading source of imported seafood products into New Zealand – particularly of processed, canned and frozen seafood items including shrimps, scallops and mussels. Chinese seafood product enters the New Zealand market tariff free.


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