Marlborough Express - Growing our economy through trade

Columns
Monday, November 24, 2014

National is helping New Zealand products reach the world. To grow our economy so we can improve our standard of living and get better public services, we need access to overseas markets.

Recently, we’ve taken another positive step towards achieving this goal.

New Zealand has completed free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with Korea, the sixth-largest export destination for Kiwi goods and services.

There are 50 million people in Korea – 50 million potential consumers of New Zealand products.

At the moment, our exporters pay $229 million a year in duties to get their products into the Korean market. Under this FTA, they stand to save $65 million in the first year alone.

Initially, tariffs will be eliminated on 48 per cent of current New Zealand exports, and will be largely non-existent within 15 years.

The value of this deal is illustrated by our dairy industry. New Zealand dairy products are sought after in Korea – it is the fourth-largest market for our cheese. However, our exporters paid around $89 million in duties on the $220 million worth of dairy products we sent there in the past year.

This deal will make New Zealand products more competitive with goods from places like the United States, Chile, and the European Union, which already have an FTA with Korea.

When businesses earn more, they can expand and can afford to hire more staff at higher rates.

Building our trade and business links is part of the Government’s plan to create more jobs and boost incomes.

This FTA will also give Kiwis is better access to Korean goods, such as motor homes, transport vehicles, heavy machinery, and home appliances.

Korea is the eighth-largest import source of goods and services in New Zealand. We import about as much product from Korea as we export – a win-win situation.

With a strong history of working together, this free trade agreement will take New Zealand’s relationship with Korea into the future.