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ZESPRI Welcomes Closer Partnership With China

MEDIA RELEASE 7 April 2008

ZESPRI Welcomes Closer Partnership With China

Speaking from Beijing today, ZESPRI Chairman Craig Greenlees welcomed the Free Trade Agreement between New Zealand and China as the beginning of a new era of closer trade and economic partnership between the two nations.

“China is a significant and fast-growing market for New Zealand kiwifruit, with 40 percent yearon- year sales growth,” said Mr Greenlees. “China’s agreement to reduce the 20 percent tariff on kiwifruit to zero over the course of the next nine years is a very significant achievement – one that will be worth many millions of dollars to the New Zealand kiwifruit industry over time."

ZESPRI has been exporting to China since 1993 and sales are rapidly heading towards $50 million annually, or approximately four percent of ZESPRI’s $1.2 billion net sales. China is also a likely future source of kiwifruit for ZESPRI in the New Zealand off-season. ZESPRI already has some small trials of ZESPRI™ GOLD (Hort16A) underway and is looking to expand its presence in China.

“Over time, an opportunity exists for ZESPRI to work in partnership with Chinese growers to produce world-class kiwifruit that will complement the counter-seasonal supply from New Zealand,” said Chief Executive Tony Nowell. “ZESPRI is also looking to further develop research and development relationships in China, which is the original home of kiwifruit breeding and related research."

“While the tariff reductions on New Zealand kiwifruit entering China provide some immediate benefits to the New Zealand kiwifruit industry, the FTA also helps to pave the way for future collaboration between ZESPRI, and New Zealand and Chinese growers and researchers. It will also help to open other doors, providing stronger cooperation on matters like the protection of intellectual property, a significant issue facing successful brands."

Tony Nowell said the kiwifruit marketer had recently completed a significant strategic review to assess the right opportunities for ZESPRI in China. “I believe that China will become an increasingly important market for both domestic and imported ZESPRI kiwifruit,” said Mr Nowell.

“Chinese consumers are very quality conscious and brand aware, and already consume a lot of fruit. As disposable income increases, so does the opportunity for high quality products supported by targeted marketing and sales programmes. We’re projecting significant growth and anticipate that within a 10-year timeframe, China could form 10 to 15 percent of our total business. At such a level, the phasing out of the existing 20 percent tariff becomes very significant indeed."

Both Tony Nowell and Craig Greenlees congratulated the New Zealand and Chinese Governments on the conclusion of this historic agreement.


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