Horticulture New Zealand has welcomed the successful conclusion of the RCEP negotiations, saying trade agreements are critical to the ongoing success of export industries like horticulture.
‘Last year, New Zealand exported more than $3.6 billion to 128 different export markets,’ says HortNZ Chief Executive, Mike Chapman.
‘This year, that figure is expected to grow by a further 3.8 percent. Such high levels of growth can only be achieved if export trading conditions are supportive, and barriers to entry are reduced constantly.’
The RCEP covers trade among New Zealand and 14 other Asia-Pacific countries, except India. That is half the world’s population.
‘The RCEP offers New Zealand growers clear benefits, such as agreements to clear perishable goods within six hours, so produce does not sit on wharves for extended periods of time.
‘This is where trade agreements are so important. Through improved market access and border entry procedures, they ensure returns to export growers are maximised. Of course, these increases go right back into the regional economies in which the produce is grown and packed, supporting continued employment and investment.’
HortNZ represents 5000 growers. The horticulture industry employs more than 60,000 people.