ZESPRI congratulates Prime Minister John Key and the New Zealand Government on progressing free trade negotiations with Korea during meetings with the Korean Prime Minister, Chung Un-chan, and President Lee Myung-Bak, in Seoul yesterday.
Korea is New Zealand’s seventh-largest trading partner and one of ZESPRI’s “Big 6” markets. A free trade agreement could be worth almost NZD $34 million to New Zealand Kiwifruit growers - approximately NZD12,000 per grower. Last year ZESPRI exported almost 6.5 million trays of ZESPRI Kiwifruit to Korea, worth approximately NZD112 million to the industry.
ZESPRI Board Chairman, John Loughlin, who is travelling with the Prime Minister’s delegation in Korea, said Korea’s current tariff on New Zealand Kiwifruit is the highest in the world at 45 percent.
“The challenge we have in Korea is that our main competitor, Chile, already has a free trade agreement. ZESPRI pays a 45 percent tariff. Chile pays a 16.5 percent tariff, which declines at four per cent a year until it reaches zero in 2014.
“ZESPRI has a superior quality product, and superior marketing and service support. A free trade agreement with Korea will allow us to compete on a level playing field, and win the market based on our premium quality fruit,” Mr Loughlin said.
A recent economic outlook released by the Korean Ministry of Strategy and Finance predicts the Korean economy will grow by 5.8 percent in 2010 and approximately 5.0 percent in 2011, presenting exciting growth opportunities for New Zealand businesses.
“Korea is a very important market for ZESPRI where we have experienced very strong growth. In the last five years ZESPRI has spent more than NZD30 million on successful advertising and promotion activities in Korea.
“ZESPRI also partners with local kiwifruit growers on the island of Jeju to produce ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit, under licence, for the Korean market during the New Zealand off season,” Mr Loughlin said.
Mr Loughlin also attended the Korea NZ Business Roundtable today, alongside other influential business leaders from Korea and New Zealand. The Roundtable aims to motivate business leaders in both countries to become advocates of a closer economic relationship between New Zealand and Korea. He will also travel with the Prime Minister to Shanghai later this week to celebrate New Zealand Day at the Shanghai Expo, where ZESPRI is a foundation partner of the New Zealand Pavilion.