Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy is welcoming major cuts in tariffs for many exporters, as the Economic Cooperation Agreement between New Zealand and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu (Chinese Taipei) comes into effect.
“From today tariffs are removed from milk powder, cheese, butter, apple, cherry and wine exports to Chinese Taipei,” says Mr Guy.
“This will mean tariff savings of nearly $40m on current trade. It’s great news for our exporters.
“Tariffs on beef will be eliminated in two years, and tariffs on kiwifruit in three. In four years, sheep, honey and most fish product tariffs will be eliminated and 99% of New Zealand trade to Chinese Taipei will be tariff-free.
“In total, tariffs will be eliminated on 100% of New Zealand’s current exports in a staged programme over 12 years.”
Mr Guy visited a cherry orchard in Blenheim today that is now harvesting and packing for export.
“Cherryland will be one of the first exporters sending products to Chinese Taipei under the tariff free conditions. This is a great Christmas present for them, their employees and other businesses throughout New Zealand.
“Chinese Taipei is New Zealand’s largest market for cherries. Before today, these exports were charged a tariff of 7.5%, and apples faced a tariff of 20%.
“This is a grassroots example of how free trade deals benefit New Zealand, and particularly the regions. It emphasises the importance of other free trade agreement negotiations, including the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which could have major benefits to New Zealand.
“Once the Chinese Taipei agreement is fully implemented tariff savings will reach $75m, based on current trade. But given trade can be expected to increase, those savings are likely to be even higher,” says Mr Guy.
Chinese Taipei is New Zealand’s 6th largest market for agricultural products and our 11th largest overall export market.
The benefits aren’t one-way.
Consumers in those markets will enjoy more choice and lower prices.
Tariffs are a tax which benefit politicians and bureaucrats while protecting a few of their producers at the expense of consumers and other producers.