18 Nov 2014

Seafood industry feels deprived in Korea deal

7:16 am on 18 November 2014

The seafood industry has been left wondering why one of its biggest exports to South Korea has been left out of the so-called free trade deal.

The yet to be ratified agreement announced last weekend would cut the steep tariffs on New Zealand products going to that market by $65 million in the first year, with a gradual phase-out of import duties after that.

However, some sectors feel that they have missed out. Seafood New Zealand chief executive Tim Pankhurst said the main disappointment for it has been the failure to remove tariffs from frozen squid.

"It will continue to suffer a 22 percent tariff. That trade with Korea is important to us. The overall seafood exports to Korea are around the 50 million (dollar) mark at the moment and squid represents about a third of that."

However, Mr Pankhurst said there had been progress with some other products including frozen mussels, which with a 20 percent import duty have had to compete with tariff-free mussels from Chile. There would be an increasing tariff-free quota for those.

"There are some other areas such as salmon and some mussel products where tariffs will be phased out over the next three years. We appreciate that some sectors have done well and that there have been some trade offs, but to talk about it as a free trade agreement with Korea is a little misleading," he said.

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