FTA yielding trade benefits for New Zealand
More than one year after a free trade agreement (FTA) between Taiwan and New Zealand was put into effect, New Zealand’s exports to Taiwan surged nearly 17 percent while Taiwan’s exports only grew 0.45 percent.
The FTA was inked in July 2013 and became effective in December of the same year. The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said the trade pact gives local businesses specializing in steel construction material, metal hardware, bicycles, sports equipment, and information and communication technology products an edge in entering the New Zealand market.
Exports of turbine engine, steel products and bicycles grew the most, by 242 percent, 56.61 percent and 24.45 percent, respectively.
Statistics show bilateral trade rose 9.25 percent to US$1.723 billion in the period between December 2013 and January 2015.
New Zealand’s exports to Taiwan totaled US$984 million, up 16.93 percent year-on-year. Taiwan’s exports to New Zealand totaled US$739 million, up 0.45 percent.
MOEA officials made a point that the FTA covers not only trade in goods, but also technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, customs, rules of origin, which can all cut down costs for local firms, and expedite the delivery of goods to markets.
For Taiwan the pact has more symbolic value than real impact. It is a high-standard FTA, and New Zealand is the first member country of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to sign an FTA with Taiwan.
It is a breakthrough that may lead to Taiwan’s future membership in the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
New Zealand’s Dairy Exports
Grow 30 Percent
Dean Prebble, director of New Zealand Trade Development Centre, said after the FTA took effect over a year ago, Taiwan has surpassed Singapore and Malaysia to become New Zealand’s seven largest export country, based on the Central News Agency’s report.
Exports of dairy products — which account for 40 percent of all exports — jumped 30 percent and sales of apples also tripled.
New Zealand exporters are pleased with simplified paperwork, faster delivery of products to Taiwan and lower tariffs that have resulted in higher trade activities, Prebble said.
Agricultural products like dairy products, beef and temperateclimate fruits make up the majority of exports to Taiwan, while electronics products account for the most imports, according to Prebble.
While New Zealand’s exports stagnated in 2014, its exports to Taiwan grew more than 14 percent, Prebble said, adding that bilateral trade grew 7.16 percent in the year.