New Zealand’s fruit and vegetable exporters are welcoming the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), saying that it will ensure that this country’s horticulture exports continue to grow as the world comes to terms with Covid.
‘Without clear trading arrangements, improved market access and reduced tariffs, it is extremely difficult to export from the bottom of the world to larger economies like Asia and Australia,’ says Horticulture New Zealand Chief Executive, Mike Chapman.
‘Of immediate benefit to horticulture is the expectation that customs authorities will release perishable goods within six hours of arrival. This will help ensure that our produce arrives on consumers’ tables in the best possible condition.
‘Also of significant benefit is that the agreement provides a process for addressing non-tariff barriers within clear timeframes.
‘In summary, agreements like the RCEP mean greater volumes of produce can be exported, with the higher returns going directly back into regional New Zealand and local communities.’
The RCEP comprises 15 countries including New Zealand, Australia, ASEAN (the Association of South East Asian Nations), China, Japan and South Korea. Together, these countries account for nearly a third of the world’s population and 30% of global trade. However, India is not included.
‘Given the countries involved and the size of their population, the RCEP will help New Zealand’s economic recovery from Covid by strengthening trade links in the Asia-Pacific region and keeping the flow of goods and services moving,’ says Mike.
The New Zealand horticulture industry would like to congratulate the government officials who have negotiated the RCEP agreement over the past eight years.
In 2019, the New Zealand horticulture industry was worth $6.39 billion. In the past ten years, the industry has grown by more than 60 percent.