Tuesday, 26 March 2024 12:48

Kiwifruit set to benefit from NZ-EU FTA

Written by  Staff Reporters
Zespri chief executive Dan Mathieson. Zespri chief executive Dan Mathieson.

The fast-tracked implementation of New Zealand’s Free Trade Agreement with the European Union (EU) could provide a significant boost for the kiwifruit industry.

The NZ-EU FTA Legislation Bill received Royal Assent yesterday, completing the process for New Zealand’s ratification of the agreement.

When the deal comes into force on 1 May 2024, the deal will see the immediate removal of the 8.8% tariff on New Zealand kiwifruit exports.

Zespri chief executive Dan Mathieson says the removal of the tariff will support efforts to grow exports to Europe, supplying consumers with more kiwifruit and returning more value back to growers and partners.

Approximately 90% of Zespri’s exports to Europe this season arrive after 1 May, though the removal of the tariff has been factored into the start of the season.

“It delivers tariff relief at a time when the industry is resetting after a very challenging period and consumers are also facing rising living costs,” Mathieson says.

“In the last two seasons growers have dealt with a significant labour shortage and resulting quality challenges which coupled with poor growing conditions and rapidly rising costs has put many under real pressure,” he says.

Mathieson says that in 2024 the industry is poised to rebound strongly with more volume and a quality reset which he says has the sector ready to deliver a strong season in market where demand continues to grow off the back of ongoing investment.

“We’re incredibly grateful for the efforts of all those who helped to make this agreement happen and who helped get it into place so quickly including Trade Minister Todd McClay and former Trade Minister Damien O’Connor,” Mathieson says.

“We’re looking forward to delivering the world’s best kiwifruit to more consumers and creating ongoing value for our industry and our partners and communities in Europe and New Zealand.”

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