Producers urged to capitalise on trade deal

  • Date Added: 19th November 2014 from Otago Daily Times

  • The Taiwanese free trade agreement, which was signed last December, was the topic of the most recent Central Otago Export Forum, held in Cromwell last week.New Zealand's free trade agreement with Taiwan will provide the Otago and Southland primary sectors with a competitive edge over other countries for the next four to five years, one of its creators says. 

    Ministry of Trade and Enterprise board member Charles Finny was the lead negotiator for the Agreement between New Zealand and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu on Economic co-operation (ANZTEC), which came into effect on December 1, 2013.

    He said the reason they chose that date was because of Central Otago's cherries.

    ''We wanted the agreement to come into force so cherry exports from Central Otago would benefit from it,'' he said.

    Mr Finny was speaking to a group of business people attending the ''Maximise the ANZTEC opportunity'' seminar at Otago Polytechnic, Cromwell on October 28.

    The workshop, organised by Central Otago District Council's economic development manager Warwick Hawker, also included Export New Zealand chairman Sir Ken Stevens, and New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFAT) business liaison unit manager Bill Dobbie.

    Mr Finny said the agreement between New Zealand and Taiwan (Chinese Taipei) would remove 100% of tariffs on exported goods within 12 years, saving exporters about $78 million annually, and also make it easier for trade between the two parties, giving New Zealand a competitive edge to a market of about 23 million people.

    New Zealand exports to Taiwan are worth about $432.5 million and since the agreement came into effect it has saved exporters about $40.3 million in duties. New Zealand's cherries and apples and dairy products are tariff free.

    ''You [Central Otago producers] have to take full advantage and it is an exciting market.''

    He said the agreement with New Zealand was a first for Taiwan and there was a five to six-year competitive advantage before other countries caught up.

    By Yvonne O'Hara
    © Otago Daily Times