6 Dec 2008

Need to remove horticulture export barriers - report

3:45 pm on 6 December 2008

A new report issued by the horticulture industry says there needs to be a lot more progress in removing export trade barriers if the sector is to reach its target of becoming a $10 billion industry by 2020.

The report reveals that tariffs imposed by other countries on New Zealand fruit and vegetable export products are continuing to grow, despite progress in negotiating free trade agreements.

They now cost the industry almost $NZ200 million per year.

Dr Stephen Ogden of Market Access Solutionz says that is 13% more than two years ago.

The report also highlights the increase in non-tariff trade barriers, such as dubious sanitary and phyto-sanitary restrictions covering health requirements and pest and disease control.

As an example of the obstacles, Dr Ogden says New Zealand has been waiting nearly 15 years to get access to South Korea for potato and apple exports, and eight years to gain access for persimmons to the United States.

He questions whether these sorts of delays are reasonable.