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Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement Applauded By NZ’s Onion Growers And Exporters

The country’s onion growers and exporters are welcoming the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

‘This agreement will ensure that New Zealand’s onion exports continue to grow. Without improved market access and reduced tariffs, it is extremely difficult for a small country like New Zealand to export to larger economies like Asia and Australia,’ says Onions New Zealand Chief Executive, James Kuperus.

‘The agreement will reduce complexity by developing a single set of trade rules across all markets within the agreement. It provides a process for addressing non-tariff barriers within clear timeframes.

‘Of immediate benefit is the expectation that customs authorities will release perishable goods within six hours of arrival. This will help ensure that our onions arrive in market in the best possible condition.’

New Zealand onion growers benefit immensely from Free Trade Agreements. For example, since the Australia, ASEAN (the Association of South East Asian Nations), NZ FTA (AANZFTA) came into force, New Zealand onion exports to the countries which make up that agreement have increased by 572%.

The RCEP comprises 15 countries including New Zealand, Australia, ASEAN (the Association of South East Asian Nations), China, Japan and South Korea. Together, these countries account for nearly a third of the world’s population and 30% of global trade. However, India is not included.

‘Given the countries involved and the size of their population, the RCEP will help New Zealand’s economic recovery from Covid by strengthening trade links in the Asia-Pacific region and keeping the flow of goods and services moving,’ says James.

‘However, with the uncertainty that Covid has created, onion plantings for harvest in 2021 have reduced by 6% but this will impact exports only, with domestic supply not affected.

‘That said, onions are an important rotation crop in many vegetable growers’ plans. Having onions in their rotations allow growers to rotate between other crops such as lettuces, potatoes and carrots, which helps to control pests and diseases.’

In 2019, the New Zealand onion industry was worth $200 million to the grower, 85% of which came from exports.

The New Zealand onion industry would like to congratulate the government officials who have negotiated the RCEP agreement over the past eight years.

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