1 Nov 2018

How the TPP trade deal will benefit NZ fruit growers

7:37 am on 1 November 2018

Growers set to benefit from the Trans-Pacific Partnership think the deal will make business easier, but do not know how much money it will save them.

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Photo: Supplied/ Max Pixel

The deal has been ratified by enough countries that the threshold to bring the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership into effect has been reached.

From the end of the year, exporters will start to get the benefits of tariff cuts, with the 60-day countdown now triggered.

Squash growers are going to be saving about $1.5 million a year from the lifting of tariffs, about $50,000 per farmer, according to Trade Minister David Parker.

Leaderbrand makes up between 15 and 20 percent of the country's squash exports.

Its chief executive Richard Burke said New Zealand exports between 70,000 and 90,000 tonnes of the vegetable, about three quarters of which went to Japan - one of the signatories to the deal.

He said the tariff into Japan for squash was already quite low, although any help was a bonus.

However, Mr Burke said it was hard to say how much benefit in dollar terms there would be as the prices for products were constantly negotiated.

"Anything that can reduce our cost and simplify the way we do our business is of benefit, but to actually put your hand up and say I returned X amount more is bloody near impossible to judge."

Mr Burke said deals like the TPP were important for New Zealand growers, who were perceived to be niche producers.

Summer fruit was also expected to do better under the agreement.

Summerfruit New Zealand chairman and 45 South orchard CEO Tim Jones said less than one percent of New Zealand cherries exported went to Japan but he hoped the tariff reduction would make the growers more competitive in a market dominated by Northern Hemisphere producers.

Mr Jones said Japan was a market that was less than $1m in value out of a $70 to $80m export cherry crop and the trade deal had the potential to double the volume of cherries going there.

"There's been a lot of investment by the industry to go in to give us market access into Japan and it would be good to see that repaid."

Wine producers are also set to benefit.

The owner and chairperson of Hawke's Bay winery Te Mata, John Buck, said the trade deal presented New Zealand producers with opportunity.

Te Mata exports about 60 percent of what they make to about 43 countries.

"The ability to go there and conclude a trade protocol with an agent and then be able to carry it out simply, that's of huge importance," Mr Buck said.

Canada, Australia, Mexico, Japan, Singapore and New Zealand have all ratified the 11-country deal.

Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Peru and Vietnam are still yet to ratify.

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